Coco, Fagara coco or Zanthoxylum coco

The Coco (Fagara coco or Zanthoxylum coco) is a species of evergreen tree native to Argentina and Bolivia. It grows in wild, mostly hilly, spinniferous (thorny or spiny) forests. Its habitat is found along the hilly forest of the Sierra Pampeana. This plant is found either in small isolated groups or standing alone. Other common names for this plant are cochucho or “smelly sauco”.

The Coco is a medium sized tree ranging from 20 to 26.25 feet tall. Its foliage is abundant and has paired spines rather than leaflets. The spiny leaves have serrated margins and pinnate (having parts of the leaf arranged on both sides of the stem) veins. The flower has five petals that are arranged in clusters. The fruit is sphere shaped and contains a shiny black seed. The whole plant has a unique unpleasant smell.

Though not usually used pharmaceutically in the botanical world, the coco tissues are very rich in a number of alkaloids.

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