Piper Auritum News, Lafayette, Louisiana, 4.1.2017 – Two local botanists have discovered the plant Piper Methysticum, better known as kava kava growing in the Louisiana swamplands. The researchers, surprised by the discovery, have yet to fully identify the cultivars and to establish just how the plant came to be growing in this southern state, but are planning to investigate further.
One theory is that the plants may have originated in French Polynesia and have been brought to the state by French explorers via Europe. French Polynesia comprises of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 1,200 miles in the South Pacific Ocean. It is divided into five island groups one of which is the Marquesas Islands. And they are home to 21 different cultivars of Kava. And Louisiana was a Kingdom of France from 1682 to 1763 – hence the speculation about a French connection.
What is certain is that the plants were transported to Louisiana from elsewhere. Kava is a non-invasive species and is not propagated by seeds, which means that whole plants must have made the journey to the state. The kava plant favors sunny, humid conditions and year round warm temperatures so it is easy to see why it might thrive in the coastal marshlands of Louisiana that support a prevalence of vegetation and, on the east side many rare and unusual species such as pitcher plants.
Neither of the botanists who made the discovery were available for comment this weekend. A close associate said that they did however partake in sampling drinks made from one of the plants and thoroughly enjoyed the effects of it. They plan to accompany the owner of the land where the kava has been discovered on a business trip to Florida where they have meetings already set at a number of kava bars to discuss potential plans for commercialization of the new found crop. Florida is home to the largest number of kava bars in the U.S.
Needless to say, we’ll be following the unfolding of this story closely in the days ahead. It opens up the possibility that kava might be discovered growing elsewhere in United States, in particular within the few non-tropical rainforest areas within the country. For example, in Pacific temperate rain forests ecoregion which occurs on west-facing coastal mountains along the Pacific coast of North America, from Kodiak Island in Alaska, through Oregon to northern California or in areas within the southern Appalachian Mountains. The highest elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains could be a candidate for the location of old growth kava.
What we know for sure is that any discovery of kava plantations within the United States would be welcomed by those who enjoy the many benefits of the drink and the sense of calm and happiness it can induce at the end of a stressful day, and by the numerous kava bar businesses and owners always looking for a new source of supply.
Watch this space for further updates.
Learn more about the effects of drinking kava here.
Read about the history and culture of kava.
When questioned about why the kava hadn’t been noticed sooner one of the botanists remarked “Apparently there was a specific breed of alligators trained to protect the plants from discovery by man, an illuminati group if you will. Sadly, the last of the species passed away earlier this year leaving the crops to be unprotected and discovered”
Happy Aprils Fools from Kalm with Kava 🙂