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Large climbing plant, native to the Amazon forest; the stem is robust and densely branched; in nature, the plant can often reach 10-12 meters in height, climbing along the trees of the Amazon forest, with the appropriate pruning it is easily possible to obtain a compact shrub, up to 2-3 meters high. In industrial guarana cultivation, it is generally preferred to keep the plants contained, so that they can be harvested more easily. The stem is woody, with smooth bark, of brown color; the leaves are dark green, shiny, oval, or lanceolate. In spring it produces small white flowers, gathered in large clusters, to which the fruits occur: it is drupes with leathery, orange-red colored peel, containing little white flesh around a large dark brown seed. This plant was already used in ancient times by the Indians of the Amazon, as a medicinal and sacred plant. In herbal medicine and in western medicine, guarana seeds are used, suitably dried and ground; Guarana powder has stimulating effects, containing caffeine and theobromine. It is used as a stimulant, but also as an analgesic, an aphrodisiac, a disinfectant ... Some of the active ingredients contained in guarana can become toxic if consumed continuously and in large doses.
Guarana plants are grown in tropical areas, there are real guarana plantations, industrially exploited; it is a plant of easy cultivation, which needs an average temperature close to 15-18 ° C, even during the cold season, so it is not possible to cultivate it outdoors in Europe. Plants that have long been settled are satisfied with the water supplied by the rains, but in general young plants are watered in particular drought or heat; generally they tolerate drought without problems, and do not tolerate cultivation in damp places or in poorly draining soil conditions. As said before the cultivated plants are pruned, so as to obtain roundish shrubs, of contained dimensions.
It occurs by semi-woody cutting, in summer; the cuttings are rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts. The young plants are planted after reaching 35-40 cm in height in a container. In spring it is possible to sow the large seeds, even directly at home.
Guaranа - Paullinia cupana: Pests and diseases
In general it does not fear the attack of insects; a heavy soil or excessively frequent rains can favor the development of radical rot.