coca


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Related to coca: Coca plant, Erythroxylum coca

coca

(kō`kə), common name for shrubs of the genus Erythroxylum, particularly E. coca, of the family Erythroxylaceae, and found abundantly in upland regions and on mountain slopes of South America, as well as in Australia, India, and Africa. Certain South American peoples chew the leaves of one of several species mixed with an alkali, lime, which acts with saliva to release the drug cocainecocaine
, alkaloid drug derived from the leaves of the coca shrub. A commonly abused illegal drug, cocaine has limited medical uses, most often in surgical applications that take advantage of the fact that, in addition to its anesthetic effect, it constricts small arteries,
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 from the leaves. In the low doses obtained in this way, the drug acts as a stimulantstimulant,
any substance that causes an increase in activity in various parts of the nervous system or directly increases muscle activity. Cerebral, or psychic, stimulants act on the central nervous system and provide a temporary sense of alertness and well-being as well as
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 and an appetite depressant with physiological effects similar to those of tobaccotobacco,
name for any plant of the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae family (nightshade family) and for the product manufactured from the leaf and used in cigars and cigarettes, snuff, and pipe and chewing tobacco.
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. Coca leaves have been used for at least 8,000 years. Until the time of the Spanish conquest, only the Inca aristocracy was privileged to chew the coca leaves, but afterward, the Spanish encouraged the enslaved Native Americans all to use coca in order to get them to endure long periods of heavy labor and physical hardships. A cocaine-free extract of coca leaves is used in some soft drinks. Coca, a different plant than the cocoa plant cacaocacao
, tropical tree (Theobroma cacao) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculia family), native to South America, where it was first domesticated and was highly prized by the Aztecs. It has been extensively cultivated in the Old World since the Spanish conquest.
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, is grown commercially in the N and central Andean countries and in Sri Lanka, Java, and Taiwan. Much coca is also grown in Andean countries for the illegal international drug trade. Coca is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Linales, family Erythroxylaceae.

Coca

 

(Erythroxylon coca), a shrub of the tropical family Erythroxylaceae, measuring 1–3 m high (sometimes 5 m). The leaves are broadly elliptical or obovate. The flowers, which are in the axils, are small, yellowish white, and five-petaled. The elongated red fruits are drupes. The coca bush almost never grows wild. It is cultivated in the tropics of South America and Asia. Coca leaves contain cocaine (up to 1.3 percent) and other alkaloids. One bush yields up to 5 kg of dry leaves per year. The leaves are harvested three to five times per season.

coca

[′kō·kə]
(botany)
Erythroxylon coca. A shrub in the family Erythroxylaceae; its leaves are the source of cocaine.

coca

1. either of two shrubs, Erythroxylon coca or E. truxiuense, native to the Andes: family Erythroxylaceae
2. the dried leaves of these shrubs and related plants, which contain cocaine and are chewed by the peoples of the Andes for their stimulating effects
References in periodicals archive ?
In his 1993 best-selling book "For God, Country, and Coca-Cola," author Mark Pendergrast points out that native Peruvians and Bolivians have chewed coca leaves and drunk coca tea for more than 2,000 years, with no ill effects.
In the early 20th century, coca leaves constituted Peru's biggest export; nearly 5,200 metric tons were shipped between 1900 and 1905.
Nevertheless, coca continues to be an important crop for small producers and campesinos in spite of the drop in prices and difficulties in selling the legal crop.
Two other departments, Trujillo and Huanaco, produce the remainder of Peru's coca leaf.
Although the official numbers show a decline in coca production, he says, the coca farmers in his department have told him they think it is rising.
Drug traffickers normally outsource the production of coca to the farmers, who grow the coca and take the initial steps in processing it into blocks of coca paste, which are then purchased by the traffickers and turned into cocaine.
While the poverty that propels farmers to plant coca remains, any attempt to stop them from doing so will in all likelihood be futile.
Coca growers' practices have changed to adapt to the fumigation, seeping into difficult-to-detect plots scattered throughout the ecologically sensitive forest as well as spilling over the border into neighboring countries.
The national parks are now overrun by coca producers," says Anna Cedarstav, staff scientist for Earthjustice and AIDA.
The fumigation program's success in terms of suppressing coca cultivation is debatable, depending on the source.