Sinicuichi (Heimia), also known as sun opener or shrubby yellowcrest, is a genus of two or three species of shrubs in the family Lythraceae, native to the Americas, from northern Argentina north to the southernmost United States (southern Texas). The leaves are 2-5 cm long and 1 cm broad, entire, and variably arranged alternate, opposite or whorled on the stems.
- Heimia myrtifolia is a shrub growing to 1 m tall. The yellow flowers are 5 petaled and 1 cm in diameter. The leaves are approximately 5 mm wide by 2-3 cm long.
- Heimia salicifolia is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. The yellow flowers are 5 petaled and 2-3 cm in diameter. The leaves are approximately 1 cm wide and 3-5 cm long.
Both Heimia species contain the following secondary metabolites:
- Cryogenine, psychoactive
History & Uses
Heimia myrtifolia and Heimia salicifolia are psychoactive and is reputed to produce auditory and / or visual hallucinations. The term 'sun opener' refers to the effects of the plant relating to vision. A brightening or 'opening' of the sun occurs when this plant is consumed. Botanists are actually uncertain as to whether or not the plant now known as 'sinicuichi' is the 'sun opener' that the indigenous peoples of South America used medicinally. Early writings about the plant are unclear, and there is much speculation that the original 'sun opener' was actually cannabis.
The species make attractive ornamental plants, flowering in late summer. Although only growing as a shrub in subtropical climates, it can also be grown as a herbaceous perennial in colder areas where the above-ground growth is killed by winter cold.
The plants produce very many tiny seeds which are easily cultivated. The seeds should be sown thinly across the top of fine, packed soil. Both species perfer well-drained soil with a good supply of water. The seedlings should be watered by a fine mist or with bottom watering to avoid washing them off to the side of the pot. They should be kept out of intense sunlight until they form the first real leaves. It may be necessary to spread the seedlings out in their initial pots to avoid over-crowding. The seedlings should be moved to at least an inch apart once they are large enough to handle. Be aware that small seedlings of this species often have relatively large root structures. A plant less than a quarter-inch tall may have roots up to two inches deep.
- Grubber, H. "Growing the Hallucinogens: How to Cultivate and Harvest Legal Psychoactive Plants" published by 20th century Alchemist
- Sinicuichi FAQ