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Granny Backbone Bark



Curarea Candicans

Common Name: Granny Back Bone

Curarea candicans

Fruiting branch
Photograph by: Mutis, J.C., Drawings of the Royal Botanical Expedition to the new Kingdom of Granada, t. 1907 (1783-1816) [S.R. Blanco] Creative Commons License

General Information

Curarea candicans is a vigorous climbing shrub that is able to climb high into the rainforest trees.
The plant is much used by native people in making the arrow poison curare. It is also collected from the wild for medicinal use.

Botanical References


S. America – Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, the Guyanas.


Upland rain forest

Medicinal Rating  *  *
Habit Climber
Height 20.00 m
Cultivation Status Wild

Cultivation Details

A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

None known


The root is used as a source of ‘Pereira root’

It is considered to be a bitter tonic and diuretic.

The root contains a number of alkaloids including chondoinine, beheerin and misobeerin

The whole plant is mixed with other plants and used as a tonic in the treatment of pain.

The sap is dripped into the ears as a treatment for earache.

The wood is used as an aphrodisiac and for the treatment of malaria and sores.



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