Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Coca, the carefully-dried leaves of Erythroxylon coca, the most interesting of the seventy species of the only genus of the Erythroxylaceae, an order of tropical shrubs and trees related to Sapindaceae. The plant is a shrub with scattered, smooth, stipulate, oval leaves, having strong inframarginal veins and small white flowers. The leaves mixed with lime or wood-ashes are chewed by Peruvian Indians and other people of the north-west of South America as a nerve stimulant, and as an aid to the digestion of large quantities of the dried, starchy, tuberous roots of the sweet potato (Batatas edulis). So sustained, the Indians are capable of prolonged fatigue.