For those that are interested, here’s a quick guide to the botanical description of the Salvia Divinorum plant as grown in a the Mazatec zone of the Sierra Madre Oriental in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Salvia is a perennial herb measuring between half and one and a half metres in height; it is relatively poorly understood, and it is only now that scientists in northern America and across the rest of the world are starting to study it at great length.

The scientific name of the genius comes from the Latin salvus, which means safe; the specific name refers to the use to which the plant is put by the Mazatec Indians. Generally these people use the plant as a source of divination.

The plant itself requires rich soil and a lot of moisture; it tolerates the sun very well if the moisture in the surrounding soil is high. The rain forests of the Amazon basin thus make a perfect home for such a species.

It is thought that Salvia only grows where it is cultivated. The plant is virtually unknown in any wild setting. Over half of the pollen grains examined by scientists appears to be non-viable: will not grow. Only 2.5% of fruits of the Salvia plant will ever grow and reach maturity.

As noted earlier Salvia‘s primary use is in shamanic divination, but its use has extended into North America where it is used recreational basis by so-called “ basement shamans”. The introduction to North America is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the widespread use of Salvia has only exploded in the previous few years. Many state lawmakers and politicians are trying to ban the use, possession, and sale of Salvia. Under federal law it remains entirely legal, and is available for purchase over the Internet and in specialist smoke shops.