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Paullinia yoco - R.E.Schult. & Killip

Common Name Yoco
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range S. America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Paullinia yoco Yoco

Luke Weiss
Paullinia yoco Yoco
Luke Weiss


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Yoco, Paullinia yoco, is a tropical vine with stems growing up to 12cm in diameter. It can be found in South America. The sap obtained from the bark contain 2.73% caffeine and is used as a stimulating breakfast beverage. It is also taken medicinally against fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Paullinia yoco is an evergreen Climber growing to 15 m (49ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Inner bark  Sap  Stem
Edible Uses:

The softer tissues of the bark, stems and wood are used to extract the white or brownish sap which has been shown to contain 2.73% caffeine. The native people in adjacent Colombia regularly used this product as a stimulating breakfast beverage[434 , 521 ]. The stem is cut into pieces 30 - 100cm long, and the epidermis, cortex, and phloem are rasped. The scrapings thus obtained are squeezed to express the caffein-bearing sap into cold water (hot or warm water is never used with yoco), the rasped tissues being then discarded. The liquid, of a cloudy milky-white or light chocolate-brown colour, is drunk cold. The beverage, which is taken early every morning, allays hunger and supplies muscular stimulation[476 ]. Lianas of Paullinia Yoco, which have a stout stem at least 8cm in diameter at the base, are utilized. Usually several trees must be felled before the liana falls to the ground. Starting at the root, the stem is then cut into pieces which may vary from 30 - 100cm in length. These pieces are stored in cool corners of Indian houses and can retain their stimulating properties for a month or even longer[928 ].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

A beverage made from the stem (see edible uses), is taken medicinally as a febrifuge and as a curative for a bilious disease[476 , 928 ]. In addition to its use as a stimulant, yoco is employed, in larger dosages, as an anti-malarial febrifuge and as a medicine in the treatment of a bilious disease which is frequent in the Putumayo[928 ].


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Other Uses

Other Uses None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Not known


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Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Yoco, yoko.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Amazon, Colombia*, Ecuador*, Peru*, South America,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Paullinia cupanaGuaranaClimber10.0 10-12 MLMHSNM420

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Expert comment


R.E.Schult. & Killip

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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