Small, bright red fruit that splits open when ripe, revealing its large black seed partially encased with a thin white pulp. At this stage, the fruit resembles an eye. Seeds are extracted and roasted, then used as a stimulant or for a variety of other purposes.
A creeping, climbing vine, sometimes reaching large heights as it scales up taller trees. Leaves contain five leaflets. The tree bears small, white male and female flowers on the same tree.
Probably not frost hardy.
Almost exclusively by seed which lose their viability within 72 hours of harvest.
Traditionally, seeds are roasted for several hours, then beaten into a paste before being smoked for a couple of months over a very low fire at which point they are ready for grating into powder. The powder is taken as stimulant, often with water or is used to flavor soft drinks and syrups. Guarana has a higher caffeine content than both coffee or tea. It is also used as a health-tonic, aphrodisiac, anti-helminthic, and a reliever of fatigue. These benefits have not been tested.
Native to South America.