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  • Writer's pictureMagick Powers

Growing Mitragyna Speciosa and the Hydra Effect

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Many people ask how old a kratom tree has to be to produce, for example, a kilo of powder.* According to VICE's investigation into the kratom industry as portrayed in Hamilton's Pharmacoepia, one adult tree can produce 20 kilos per year of dried powder.

So your next question might naturally be, well how long does that take?

Instead of giving a spiel on apical dominance and waxing scientific on you, I'm turning to ancient mythology for my lesson today.

You may remember Hydra, the serpentine water monster from Greek and Roman mythology. She was a many-headed beast, and every time one head was cut off, two more would grow in its place. This, friends, is also true of the mitragyna speciosa tree... and many others.

Mitragyna Speciosa is so named because the leaves unfold from a MITRE, or a spear-shaped sheath at the top of the plant that encases a newly growing pair of leaves. From inside this pair of leaves is birthed another mitre holding another pair of leaves, and so on to infinity, like a plant version of a Russian doll, unfolding forever up a single branch.

Remove the mitre and two will grow in its place, each yielding a complete branch.
Remove the mitre and two will grow in its place, each yielding a complete branch.

What makes mitragyna speciosa like the Hydra is that if you pinch off that mitre, two more grow in its place, and from each a branch unfolds. Now instead of a single tall stalk, your plant splits into two. Extrapolate this concept to see that as you prune your tree, it yields more and more and more.

In addition to pruning off select mitres, defoliating also causes your plant to grow exponentially. When you defoliate your tree, you remove the leaves. When those leaves grow back, they don't just simply grow back as they were.... rather where every single leaf was, now a new BRANCH grows in its place.

Where a single leaf was removed, an entire new branch grows!
Where a single leaf was removed, an entire new branch grows!

This is the Hydra effect, and I'm using it to illustrate the concept that it is not simply the age of your plant that determines how much it produces, but in fact how much you are working with your plant that affects how productive it becomes. Environmental factors also play a powerful role in growth, from heat and humidity levels, to nutrition and general psychic space. Plants grow better when they, and you, are happy.

Fertilization, light and the size of the hole

Feeding your specimen is also extremely important. High quality nutrients, large holes (or containers) and plenty of light make huge differences in how big your plant can grow.

The photo above is an 11 month old specimen from our Borneo Rainforest line, sown from seed and sold to a vendor in Oregon. If the same tree had been put in a small pot, not fed and kept in the darkness, it wouldn't have grown as much. This means the way you care for your trees significantly impacts their success.

Fractals in nature

Mitragyna Speciosa's Hydra Effect is a miraculous example of the fractal nature of reality.

Feel free to share ideas and images of other fractals as they appear in nature, or ask any questions.

*this information is for research purposes only.

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