Mitragyna Speciosa – The Kratom Tree

In this blog we would like to take you literally back to the roots of Kratom namely its botanical origin.


Mitragyna Speciosa is an arborescent plant more commonly known under the name Kratom however if correctly used the term Kratom describes the leaves of the tree. It is native to some parts of Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Sumatra and Borneo.
Kratom tree at a river bank

The Kratom tree is closely related to the same plant species as the coffee tree, belonging to the family of flowering plants called Rubiaceae. You can find these deciduous and evergreen plants in monsoon forests of tropical and sub-tropical regions especially alongside river banks.


Mitragyna Speciosa is rather small and grows to a height of 30 meters with a branch width of 4 meters. The trees we photographed here were at least 25 meters high.

It prefers wet, humus-rich grounds and requires very rich, fertile soil. It is drought sensitive. During dry season leaf fall is more frequent where new growth is plentiful during the rainy season of the year.


Characteristic for Kratom are its leaves that are ovate-acuminate in shape – smaller at the ends of the branchlets, pointed at the tip, rounded or somewhat heart-shaped at the base – and a dark Kratom plantglossy green in colour. They can grow to over 18cm long and 5 to 10cm wide. They are smooth but hairy on the nerves beneath.

Kratom flowerFlowers are yellow, round and tend to grow in clusters at the end of the branches. The flowering heads bear up to 120 florets each.


Due to the development of palm oil and other man interventions, Kratom trees are extremely important to the environment in which they are found, not only because they provide shade and shelter to other animals but more importantly they hold the river banks together from being eroded away. Most of the trees the Living Botanics Team saw were hanging over the water. If these trees were cut down, erosion of the river banks would be one more problem to this part of the world. In collaboration with our local community partners, the Living Botanics team ensures the harvest of mature leaves without cutting down nor damaging the tree in any way. We are committed to ensuring that sustainable practices are paramount in all of our operations.



If you would like to grow your own Kratom plant, there are some major points you have to consider: Mitragyna Speciosa is indigenous to tropical, humid regions which means it is very sensitive to cold and highly varying temperatures and cannot stand frost. In addition, commercial soil is not recommended to use for growing these plants especially if you want to cultivate seeds. We suggest to simulate the natural environment as best possible and to fertilize the plants during the growth period at least every two months.

Even easier, just hop online and order from us. We can do all the hard work for you! 😉


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