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- Artikel nr.: 10400
Khat (Catha edulis), also called Qat or Chat, comes from an evergreen tree which grows at high altitudes extending from eastern to southern Africa. It's a large shrub which can grow to tree size. It reaches a size of 10 feet to 20 feet and its scrawny leaves resemble withered basil. Fresh khat leaves are crimson-brown and glossy but become yellow-green and leathery as they age. They also emit a strong smell.
The ancient Egyptians considered Catha edulis to be a most sacred plant, a "divine food" like royal jelly to bees, capable of releasing humanities nascent divinity. This plant was so important to the ancients that is was called "the plant" or "the shrub", although its specific name is lost to time. Nowadays khat is used throughout eastern Africa, from the Middle East all the way south, and especially in Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia it is still popular.
These khat seeds come from the Nigerian Catha edulis variety and are considered to be of higher quality compared to other sources. With some care the seeds can be cultivated into your very own thriving garden of khat plants.
Khat is reasonably easy to grow, especially once you're past the seedling stage. Catha edulis is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions (near Harar, where most of the khat is grown, the soil is said to be neutral to slightly acidic despite being high in calcium and low in nitrogen) - it is suggested that water supply is more important than soil type, particularly in the early growing period.
For germination we recommend a temperature of around 23°C (73.4°F). Once established the plant will grow in full sun, partial sun, or even shade at a temperature range of 5-35°C (41-95°F).
Plants are normally set out when the rainy season begins. The top parts will be cut back by frost but khat plants will grow back from the roots. A good response in plant growth is realised from fertiliser applications. Nitrogen applications increase the vegetative growth of khat, which increases the yield.
For more information on Catha edulis, check the Azarius encyclopaedia on khat.