Ayahuasca: alkaloids, plants & analogs
Section 3 : Part 2 :
Phalaris : Some of the many strains of interest
See more detail in the tables (aquatica) (arundinaceae)
Phalaris aquatica L.
[Comments on history and agronomy were adapted from their entries in the Register of Australian Herbage Plant Cultivars.]
This was largely known as P. tuberosa until D.E. Anderson 1961 [Iowa St. J. Sci. 36: 1-96] pointed out that Linnaeus had described P. tuberosa from a specimen of P. aquatica some 16 years after naming P. aquatica in 1755.
Many cultivars are known and available:
Phalaris aquatica var. AQ-1
Higher levels of DMT than are known from any other species (Samorini 1992 Personal communication with J. Ott and Festi & Samorini 1994) In excess of 1% reported from grass grown in Italy.
Extremely strong occurrence was also reported using HPLC. Festi & Samorini 1994b
Phalaris tuberosa var. Australia tests well for DMT but this and cv. Commercial Australian are said to be synonymous. See below.
Phalaris aquatica cv. Australian [Reg. No. A-3a-1]
(aka Phalaris aquatica cv. Australian Commercial and "Toowoomba Canary Grass")
This originated from seeds introduced into Australia in 1884 from the Agricultural Department of New York State (as P. commutata). While its origin is unclear, it is believed to have originally been collected in Italy and brought to the US.
cv. Australian is a vigorous strain once established and is able to withstand both drought and waterlogged conditions.
Its leaf sheaths contain a pink red pigment which give a colored exudate if young shoots are cut near their base (stem base of young seedlings is pink).
The coleoptile is green.
If its seeds are grown in the dark, the young root tips are cream with a slight yellow tint which stands in contrast to both P. minor and many strains of P. aquatica which have young root tips of red when grown in the dark.
cv. Australian is similar to Harding-grass but has slightly finer and narrower leaves as well as being somewhat less productive in late Fall and early Winter.
It is adapted to areas of mild moist winters and hot dry summers. It shows summer dormancy unless temperatures are mild with continued rainfall.
It shows its most vigorous growth in spring and fall. Growth will continue during winter if conditions are mild.
The seed shatters easily with about 882,000 per kilogram.
Seedlings are poor in vigor and slow in establishment.
They are sensitive to competition especially if light levels are impaired.
It does best in heavy textured soils and responds well to high levels of fertilization.
Once established it is extremely persistent even under heavy grazing.
Its predominate alkaloid is DMT.
Some published accounts:
280 nmol of DMT and 150 nmol of 5-MeO-DMT and 200 nmol of Gramine/ 100 7-day old seedlings. (10 grams)
- Mulvena & Slaytor 1983.
Foliage: 0.1% DMT and 0.05% 5-MeO-DMT by dry wt. Gramine was also present.
Bufotenine, Tryptophan, Tryptamine, 5-Hydroxytryptamine, 5-Methoxytryptamine all were present at trace levels. They isolated Gramine, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT from fresh young seedlings.
- Baxter & Slaytor 1972:
Regrowth taken three weeks after cutting to ground level and commencing nitrogen treatments showed in excess of 40 mg per 100 grams of dry weight [0.040%] while those grown nearby without clover or added nitrogen contained only 11 mg per 100 grams dry weight.
- Moore et al. 1967.
Phalaris aquatica cv. El Golea [Reg. No. A-3a-5]
This line was derived from CPI 19305 Morocco and selected specifically for seed retention characteristics. [CPI 19305 Morocco was originally collected on a pinkish brown clay or clay loam at Za Sidi Rehal, 55 km west of Amizmiz (31° 40'N, 7° 30'W, Elev.:700 m.)]
Its is native to a region of severe and lengthy summer droughts.
While more closely resembling Sirocco than cv. Australian, it has a larger seed head. There are around 550,000 seeds per kilogram.
It (and CPI 19305) shows a high winter production when compared to either Sirocco or Australian as well as a consistently higher annual production than either.
El Golea shows a pronounced summer dormancy.
It is as easy to establish as cv. Sirocco but if grown without a cover crop it did not perform as well the second year.
The seed retention of CPI 19305 is about half that of cv. Australian. While cv. El Golea has a higher retention of seeds than cv. Australian, it is still low.
Total tryptamine concentration is said to be similar to Australian and Sirocco but details are apparently lacking. Oram & Williams reported CPI 19305 to show variable results with total alkaloid content both higher (under controlled conditions) and lower (in field trials) than cv. Australian but they were suggestive of 5-MeO-DMT being the predominate alkaloid with DMT as a minor base. More work is needed to define the alkaloid composition.
Phalaris aquatica cv GB81 (as P. tuberosa)
Frahn & O'Keefe 1971 found DMT to be the major base but it is not clear if the levels are usable. The total alkaloid content varied depending on time of year. [% unclear; they gave a generic range of 0.06 and 0.001% by fresh weight for all grasses they studied.] They additionally determined 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline and 2-Methyl-6-methoxy-β-carboline to both be present at around 5% of the total alkaloid at all times measured.
Phalaris aquatica cv "High alkaloid"
(as P. tuberosa)
DMT is the major base but the actual levels of alkaloid are lower than most other aquaticas listed here.
- Frahn & O'Keefe 1971
Phalaris aquatica (as P. tuberosa) as the unspecified selection sold by JLF
In 1995 tested extremely well and consistently in tlc. It was one of the best I have seen here in Texas. (DMT was the major; co-occurring with 5-MeO-DMT.) tlc by Johnny Appleseed
Phalaris aquatica cv Killer [often sold as P. arundinacea] "Killer Phalaris"
DMT is normally the predominate alkaloid. [However while this is usually true and was true in 1994, TLC assays of the same patch (started in fall of 1993; samples taken 25 June, 17 Sept., 2 Nov. 1995 showed 5-MeO to predominate.]
tlc by Johnny Appleseed This originated as cv. Unita [cv. Uneta] but it has been in unregulated propagation long enough that it is not exactly clear if they are still synonymous. See more under cv. Uneta below.
Phalaris aquatica cv. Seedmaster (Phalaris aquatica cv. Siro Seedmaster) [Reg. No. A-3a-2]
This line was bred from CPI 24947 and 25779 and selected for vigor and seed retention characteristics.
[CPI 24947 and 25779 were both of cv. Pergamino No. 1 [El Gaucho]. cv. Pergamino was developed in Argentina from Australian obtained seeds and is said to be almost indistinguishable from cv. Australian. Primary differences are better seed retention with a greater range of variation for this character.]
Seedmaster also is almost indistinguishable from cv. Australian. It does show some floristic differences and has shorter and broader seeds with a tighter and more compact seedhead. Trials determined it to have a 78% seed retention in contrast to cv. Australian's 32%.
However, it is somewhat less productive in vegetative growth and less competitive than cv. Australian.
Some reported analysis:
- DMT was the predominate alkaloid. Low levels of bufotenine were noted.
- Samples consisted of the two uppermost (youngest) leaves taken from 20 sites in each plot
- Found great variations of alkaloids between sampling dates.
- Alkaloid content was far higher content in autumn than in winter, showing a peak in April (Autumn in Australia).
- Seedmaster rose above 100 mg of tryptamines per 100 grams of dry material twice (0.1%); once at the beginning of March and once in early April. It showed another smaller peak at the beginning of June before dropping to low levels. (It was lower in alkaloid levels than Sirocco at most points.)
- Tryptamine levels were approximately 5 times greater in Autumn (April) than in winter (July and September). Dimethylated tryptamines comprised only 25% of the total alkaloids during their lowest point in winter.
- - Above from Oram 1970.
They additionally determined 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline and 2-Methyl-6-methoxy-β-carboline to both be present at around 5% of the total alkaloid at all times measured. Seedmaster appeared to contain slightly more than the other strains. (=P.I. 314963 Australia at USDA GRIN)
Phalaris aquatica cv. Sirocco
[Reg. No. A-3a-3]
This line was derived from CPI 19331 Morocco [originally collected on bank of Oued Sebou at Boukraoua, north of Port Lyautey (34o 20'N)]
90% of young root tips germinating in the dark show colors ranging from pink to strong red.
It is more productive and persistent in areas of low rainfall than cv. Australian and its larger seedlings are better able to compete with weeds and cover crops. The rate of growth and herbage production are higher than cv. Australian but seed production and retention characteristics are comparable.
Its alkaloid concentration in winter and spring are comparable to cv. Australian but its summer growth can be much stronger. However, unless there is adequate summer rain, it does not produce foliage during the summer.
Its predominate alkaloid is 5-MeO-DMT.
Some published analysis:
51 nmol of 5-MeO-DMT and 24 nmol of DMT and 175 nmol of Gramine per 100 7-day old seedlings (10 gm)
- - Mulvena & Slaytor 1983.
Sirocco was found by Oram to be higher than cv. Australian in total tryptamines in general.
Samples consisted of the two uppermost (youngest) leaves taken from 20 sites in each plot
Oram found alkaloids varied widely between sampling dates.
Alkaloid content was far higher content (approximately 5 times) in Autumn (April in Australia) than in Winter (July and September), showing a peak in April.
Sirocco showed a low peak in Feb. and high levels of tryptamines were only present from February through June. (The month of June showed a steady decline in alkaloid levels.) At it highest sharp peak it approached 300 mg per 100 grams of dry material. The other samplings during its high phase were less than 200 mg and greater than 100 mg per 100 grams of dry material. After June it remained at less than 50 mg per 100 grams of dry material for the duration of the study (end of Sept.)
Dimethylated tryptamines comprised only 25% of the total alkaloids during their lowest point in winter.
- - Above from Oram 1970
Frahn & O'Keefe 1971 also found it to have 5-MeO-DMT as the major base. The total alkaloid content varied depending on the time of year. [% unclear; they gave a generic range of 0.06 and 0.001% by fresh weight for all grasses they studied.] They additionally determined 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline and 2-Methyl-6-methoxy-β-carboline to both be present, as around 5% of the total alkaloid content, at all times measured.
Phalaris aquatica var. stenoptera
(= P. tuberosa var. stenoptera = P. stenoptera)
("Harding-grass", "Holdfast Harding-grass", "Peruvian Wintergrass")
Introduced cultivar from Australia [This scenario is presented by most. Hortus considers its origin to be unclear.]. Cultivated and naturalized in California and the Pacific Northwest.
Variable amounts. Festi & Samorini 1994 cited Rendig et al. 1970 as finding 135-264 mg of 5-MeO-DMT and
0-60 mg of DMT per ml of expressed juice.
DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are present in foliage [5-MeO-DMT>DMT]. Total indole alkaloid levels hit two peaks of 0.14% in late September and mid November one year but only one peak in one or the other during two other years. In the latter cases; the year with a peak in late September was also around 0.14% while the year with the peak in mid-November was 0.08%. This last year showed some of its lowest values in late September. Their analysis only covered mid September through mid February. Total indolealkylamines were 0.08% or less the rest of the times assayed, with a low around 0.02%. (All values approximate; taken from graphs) Alkaloid levels were found to be markedly different from one month to the next and one year to the next. Rendig et al. 1976.
McComb and coworkers determined the 5-MeO-DMT concentration in Phalaris tuberosa leaves (cv. Hardinggrass) by use of an estimation obtained via UV absorption of the Xanthylium salts formed during the alkaloid's reaction with Xanthydrol.
They reported 0.236% in 7 day old fresh leaves, 0.105% in 9 day old fresh leaves and 0.077% in 21 day old fresh leaves. all figures are % dry weight
They did not evaluate the other components of the leaves in this paper but noted that neither gramine nor hordenine formed colored complexes with Xanthydrol. McComb et al. 1969.
Phalaris aquatica cv. Uneta [Reg. No. A-3a-7]
This line was derived entirely from cv. Australian. The original plant was selected for the sake of retaining all of its seeds firmly at maturity in contrast to the rest of the population losing an average of 50% within 2 weeks of the appearance of the first mature seed. [75% within 20 days; in contrast to Uneta losing 5% in this same time period.]
It was bred specifically to exhibit the 4 recessive genes believed to control non-shattering characteristics of the seed head. The stability of the homogenous recessive genotype has been confirmed making this the first full seed retaining P. aquatica cultivar. This cultivar can be harvested by direct heading up to 3 weeks after full stand maturity.
Uneta resembles cv. Australian in seed size and number and also in overall performance and vigor despite efforts to increase performance. It does show a variable but greater dry matter yield when compared to cv. Australian but this is only significant in the first spring due to a superior establishment.
TLC and bioassays by Appleseed appeared to indicate DMT as the major alkaloid with co-occurrence of 5-MeO-DMT. At least one strong assay (tlc) was observed during spring. This strain, as selected by Appleseed for consistent positive and strong assays, has been marketed under the name "Killer Phalaris" due to the incidence of staggers reported on the parent line.
Phalaris aquatica var. Uneta is said to be a good strain. Profile and content is similar to cv. Australian from which it was originally selected.
Usually spelled Unita in non-Australian literature and Uneta among US commercial plant/seed sources.
5-MeO-DMT in leaf at 0.01-0.28% in material from California [var. stenoptera]. Citing Welch 1971
- - Festi & Samorini 1994a.
Phalaris aquatica (as P. tuberosa)
DMT was major alkaloid in all samples examined in Culvenor et al. 1964.
Phalaris arundinaceae L.
Phalaris arundinacea P.I. 172443 Turkey (originating from Yagbasan, Sarikamis, Kars., Turkey); "Turkey Red" A clone selected from the strain; selected by J. Appleseed for consistent performance when dried foliage is used. [5-MeO-DMT is the predominate alkaloid.]
0.025% to 0.045% total alkaloid by wet weight (Appleseed).
tlc by Johnny Appleseed: fall 1994), 25 June, 17 Sept., 2 Nov. 1995)
Phalaris arundinacea P.I. 235547 Sweden (USDA clone #19-7); Johnny Appleseed found this to be tryptamine positive in all plants tested. [5-MeO-DMT is the major alkaloid.] [Simons & Marten 1971 obtained the clones P.I. 235547 Sweden and P.I. 253317 Yugoslavia from the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station, Pullman Washington or the Northeastern Station, Geneva, NY.]
P.I. 253317 Yugoslavia
(Palatable USDA clone #41-5); "Yugoslavian Fresh-Cut" Selected by Appleseed for consistent performance when fresh foliage is used. [5-MeO-DMT is the major alkaloid.]
Phalaris arundinacea Clone #R5 (Unpalatable USDA clone #405-9) "large" amount of DMT co-occurring with "trace" amount of 2-Methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-b-carboline. Gander et al. 1976. [Clone originating with U.S. Regional Pasture Research Laboratory, University Park, Pennsylvania]
Phalaris arundinacea Clone #R16 (Unpalatable USDA clone #369-3) "large" amount of DMT co-occurring with "trace" amount of 2-Methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-b-carboline. Gander et al. 1976. [Clone originating with U.S. Regional Pasture Research Laboratory, University Park, Pennsylvania]
Phalaris arundinacea Clone #R51 "large" amount of 5-MeO-DMT as sole alkaloid. Gander et al. 1976) [R51 was from the "highly diverse source population used in plant breeding and genetic studies at the University of Minnesota, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics".]
Phalaris arundinacea Clone #R96 "large" amount of 5-MeO-DMT co-occurring with "trace" amounts of hordenine and "trace" amounts of 6-Methoxy-2,9-dimethyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-b-carboline. Gander et al. 1976 [Same source as R51.]
Phalaris arundinacea Clone #R504 "large" amount of DMT co-occurring with "intermediate" amounts of hordenine. DMT was not present in all clones examined (3 out of 12). Gander et al. 1976. [Same source as R51.]
Phalaris arundinacea L.
5-MeO-DMT in leaf.
0.0002-0.0067% in material from British Columbia. Citing Majak & Bose 1977
0-0.02% in material from Minnesota. NRG741 was the strongest of those tested and NRG721 the weakest. Citing Majak et al. 1978) [NRG741 tested very well for 5-MeO-DMT in one specimen and fairly poor in another]
- - Festi & Samorini 1994a.
An extremely strong occurrence of DMT was reported, using HPLC, in material from Portugal. DMT was the sole alkaloid. Festi & Samorini 1994b
Strongly positive human bioassays have been reported using clones originating from both Algeria and Greece. DeKorne 1997.
30 grams of fresh foliage was reported to be too much by EH, MA (1997 Entheogen Review page 15)
Appleseed's assays detected 5-MeO-DMT in several strains obtained from the USDA GRIN; including P.I. 202676 & P.I. 231044 Greece. (The latter was found to be a spreading form with good biomass production.)
Individuals containing a uniform distribution of DMT among their offspring have been identified and selected for cultivation [from PI#415822].
A similar undertaking was performed for a high 5-MeO-DMT producing strain [from PI#167261].
Both should become commercially available within the near future. Both tested solidly and appear as good or better than the P. brachystachys strains that were also tested. Both showed a clean profile with only one alkaloid present
Nov. 1999 update: While this was true of the USDA seed grown material and held true early in the field trials, after being grown out for for several successive seed crops, both of the strains in question began to also show the presence of other alkaloids. Further seed production efforts were placed on hold until an understanding of this can be reached.
Phalaris commutata see as Phalaris aquatica cv. Australian
Phalaris stenoptera see as Phalaris aquatica var. stenoptera
Phalaris tuberosa see as Phalaris aquatica
Phalaris tuberosa var. stenoptera see as Phalaris aquatica var. stenoptera