Updated: Oct 24, 2019
All over the internet now, opportunists are popping up selling cuttings and seeds of what they claim are numerous different strains of Kratom plant. Only problem? These are not really biologically legitimate strains. Most of the live plants sold in the US are cuttings from one or two old clone lines, intentionally re-named after numerous different powder varieties to cash in on people's mistaken belief that all these powder strains really exist in nature. But guess what? All powder strain names are created by the powder industry. These strains of plant don't exist.
Before you get defensive, let’s just say it's understandable why you were fooled… we've been told there are green strains and white strains and red strains. Packages labeled green, red and white maeng da exist. We've seen them at the store! We assume that because something exists under that name at the store, it must come from unique plants with the same name or attributes. We assume those plants exist in the wild. So if someone is selling a plant with a powder name we recognise, it sounds legitimate enough. And we think how lucky we are to have found our favourite strain in live plant form! And if they have a dozen different strains offered, those who can afford it buy them all.
But hold it right there.
This is the Kratom plant police.
And sorry to break it to you, but this is just a way of taking as much of your money as possible.
Let's break it down right at the source.
In Borneo, where they produce 95% of the world's kratom, they only separate the harvested leaves into two groups: regular and horned.
From these two groups of leaves, every "strain" and color of powder is manufactured by applying different curing processes to the harvested leaves. Simply put, "strains" do not even exist until after harvest, and the names are simply there to differentiate different styles of finished powders... NOT to indicate multiple strains of live plants exist and which were involved in the process.
Biologically, horn is not a strain. It's a genetic mutation that is toggled on in some specimens. These horned specimens are the exact same so-called strain as the plants with unhorned leaves… in fact, you see a mixture of both, horned and unhorned leaves, on a single tree. Why? Because they are not different strains of plant. They are just different shaped leaves from the same trees, separated into two distinct groups during the harvesting process. These batches of leaves are then treated with different curing techniques to create the powder varieties you've come to know and love.
"Maeng da" in Thai means "pimp grade." It is a colloquial term used to indicate "the good stuff," and applies to finished powders and the leaves used to make them. But it's not a strain of plant. The use of that phrase has become so ubiquitous that people are even selling crummy powder under that name because people are familiar with it and they buy it. It's a good marketing tactic.
But still, not a strain of plant. Just a marketing name to tell you this powder's supposed to be good.
Unscrupulous plant vendors will tell you they have maeng da cuttings because everyone wants the good stuff, everyone loves maeng da powder, and they're trying to make a nice easy buck off you. In some cases, the person trying to sell you the maeng da might not even know better; maybe someone made a buck off them, and now they're repeating what they were told it's called. But some people do know better... and they don't care. The fact is every powder strain name you've ever heard of is completely made up by the powder industry for the purposes of marketing that powder… including maeng da. But some unscrupulous opportunists don't want you to know that. How could they sell you those 35 different live kratom strains if you knew the truth?
So what IS the truth???
Enough $#!%^ talking. Let's get down to the facts. Instead of strains, what really exists in the world of mitragyna speciosa botany is genetic diversity and a high environmental adaptation response.
Environmental conditions including sunlight characteristics and soil nutrient profiles have a direct influence on color expression in live mitragyna speciosa. All you have to do is change the soil or lighting conditions of your plant and you will change its color. Speciosa leaves can turn any number of colors and be shaped many different ways, smooth or horny, long or round. Alter their environment and they'll transform before your eyes.
This is why people can show you wildly different looking photos of kratom plants... one's purple, one's yellow, one's big and round, one's little and pointy. But they're not really unique genetically reproducible strains. Every single one of these plants can and will change its appearance in response to changing environmental stimuli. You can make what looks like a dozen "strains" out of plants from the exact same seed pod just by potting them differently, feeding them differently, and giving them different access to vary
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