• Magick Powers

Fake Kratom Strains (Powder Strains Do Not Exist in Nature)

Updated: Oct 3, 2019


Time for a show of hands.... who has this happened to?

If you've been sold a plant, cutting or seeds with a powder strain name, like red maeng da for example, you've fallen victim to a very common kratom hoax.

All over the internet now, opportunists are popping up selling cuttings and seeds of what they claim are numerous different strains of kratom plant. Only problem? These are not really biologically legitimate strains. Most of the live plants sold in the US are cuttings from one or two old clone lines, intentionally re-named after numerous different powder varieties to cash in on people's mistaken belief that all these powder strains really exist in nature. But guess what? All powder strain names are created by the powder industry. These strains of plant don't exist.

If this were a strain, we would call it the Queen of Hearts... but the fact is this beautiful kratom tree, cultivated as part of our genetic research at Magick Powers Potions, won't look anything like this if you put it into a vastly different environment. This is because kratom, with all its variable colors and qualities, changes on a whim in response to environmental triggers. Strain names as you've come to know them are actually totally fake.

Before u get defensive, lets just say it's understandable why you were fooled… we've been told there are green strains and white strains and red strains. Packages labeled green, red and white maeng da exist. We've seen them at the store! We assume that because something exists under that name at the store, it must come from unique plants with the same name or attributes. We assume those plants exist in the wild. So if someone is selling a plant with a powder name we recognize, it sounds legitimate enough. And we think how lucky we are to have found our favorite strain in live plant form! And if they have a dozen different strains offered, those who can afford it buy them all.

But hold it right there.

This is the kratom plant police.

And sorry to break it to you, but this is just a way of taking as much of your money as possible.

An example of a horned leaf growing on a seed sown specimen at Magick Powers Potions

Let's break it down right at the source

In Borneo, where they produce 95% of the world's kratom, they only separate the harvested leaves into two groups: regular and horned.

From these two groups of leaves, every "strain" and color of powder is manufactured by applying different curing processes to the harvested leaves. Simply put, "strains" do not even exist until after harvest, and the names are simply there to differentiate different styles of finished powders... NOT to indicate multiple strains of live plants exist and which were involved in the process.

Elephant leaves are large leaves... they can even be bigger than the leaf in this photo. But by biological definitions, Elephant kratom isn't a plant strain. It's a descriptive term for certain leaves on certain trees, specifically very broad and large leaves growing on old wild trees in the jungle (as opposed to a plantation). Kratom trees can grow to over 100 feet high, and some of the leaves can be astonishingly huge! However, a plant that produces elephant sized leaves can also make smaller leaves. More mature specimens may enjoy processing sunlight with big wide leaves, but move that tree (or take a cutting of it) somewhere else and the leaves can totally change. When seeds fall and new baby trees start, they don't make elephant sized leaves. This is therefore not a genetically reproducible strain or phenotype. It's just a characteristic of some leaves on some plants under some conditions. Size is also no indicator of potency.

"But someone told me maeng da comes from ruffly leaves, and this plant has ruffly leaves!"

Ok, it can. But those ruffles are a variation of horn, and they do not indicate a separate strain of live plant. Biologically, horn is not a strain. It's a genetic mutation that is toggled on in some specimens. These horned specimens are the exact same so-called strain as the plants with unhorned leaves… in fact, you see a mixture of both, horned and unhorned leaves, on a single tree. Why? Because they are not different strains of plant. They are just different shaped leaves from the same trees, separated into two distinct groups during the harvesting process. These batches of leaves are then treated with different curing techniques to create the powder varieties you've come to know and love.

Although this is a version of a maeng da leaf, that doesn't mean the tree it came from is a strain called maeng da.

"Maeng da" in Thai means "pimp grade." It is a colloquial term used to indicate "the good stuff," and applies to finished powders and the leaves used to make them. But it's not a strain of plant. The use of that phrase has become so ubiquitous that people are even selling crummy powder under that name because people are familiar with it and they buy it. It's a good marketing tactic.

But still, not a strain of plant. Just a marketing name to tell you this powder's supposed to be good.

Unscrupulous plant vendors will tell you they have maeng da cuttings because everyone wants the good stuff, everyone loves maeng da powder, and they're trying to make a nice easy buck off you. In some cases, the person trying to sell you the maeng da might not even know better; maybe someone made a buck off them, and now they're repeating what they were told it's called. But some people do know better... and they don't care. The fact is every powder strain name you've ever heard of is completely made up by the powder industry for the purposes of marketing that powder… including maeng da. But some unscrupulous opportunists don't want you to know that. How could they sell you those 35 different live kratom strains if you knew the truth?

Some clone vendors may also try to tell you only old trees can be potent, which generally convinces people to purchase a clone instead of a seed-sown specimen. But this beautiful red tea was made from 9 month old seed-sown plants from Magick Powers Potions Borneo Rainforest line. This line was tested at 11 months of age to reveal 1.19% mitragynine and .004 7hydroxymitragynine. These are export-quality alkaloid levels and prove that the future of American kratom is closer than previously thought.

So what IS the truth???

Enough $#!%^ talking. Let's get down to the facts. Instead of strains, what really exists in the world of mitragyna speciosa botany is genetic diversity and a high environmental adaptation response.

Environmental conditions including sunlight characteristics and soil nutrient profiles have a direct influence on color expression in live mitragyna speciosa. All you have to do is change the soil or lighting conditions of your plant and you will change its color. Speciosa leaves can turn any number of colors and be shaped many different ways, smooth or horny, long or round. Alter their environment and they'll transform before your eyes.

This is why people can show you wildly different looking photos of kratom plants... one's purple, one's yellow, one's big and round, one's little and pointy. But they're not really unique genetically reproducible strains. Every single one of these plants can and will change its appearance in response to changing environmental stimuli. You can make what looks like a dozen "strains" out of plants from the exact same seed pod just by potting them differently, feeding them differently, and giving them different access to varying light sources.

Think these are two separate strains of kratom? They're not. They've just been grown in different soil.

As an emerging industry, the kratom plant world doesn't have a lot of checks and balances in place. There is so much myth and misunderstanding. But from amidst all the chaos and BS, a legitimate underground collective of American growers is taking off in the shadows of bad press and threatened bans. We do have the power to give this species a future on our continent, but it all starts with honesty and real education. If you want to make your own green maeng da... you CAN! But it's not from buying a plant called green maeng da.

We work very hard at Magick Powers Potions to develop strong seed-sown genetic lines that will thrive in the North American climate. They are not named after powder strains because we prefer to take the route of honesty -- even though it would be so much easier to name our plants after a powder name and tell you that's what you're getting. It's a long and involved process, but the more we can bring light to the truths of this species, the better chance we have of making kratom a common and easy to grow crop here in the United States. The future of American kratom begins with telling the truth.

Special thanks to Faith, who took time to send us this video from a kratom forest in Indonesia to help us bust the common American myth of kratom strains. She has been to many kratom forests, farms and processing locations, and can confirm different strains of live kratom trees do not exist. The names are creations of man to indicate to what extent the leaves have been manipulated and oxidized after harvest. Colors on the living trees result from varying levels of nutrients in the soil (and, as we've learned, other environmental factors), and colors of the finished powder result from varying levels of oxidation during processing.

To learn more about growing your own kratom, visit

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