Catha edulis (Khat): In Vitro Culture and the Production of Cathinone and Other Secondary Metabolites

  • H. M. Elhag
  • J. S. Mossa
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 37)


Khat, Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl. (Celasteraceae), is an evergreen shrub or tall tree that may reach up to 25 m in height if not pruned (Fig. 1). Extensive pruning makes it a small shrub, as it is usually described. Its life span may extend for 40 years. The plant is indigenous to East Africa and southern Arabia, but may have originated in the Harar district of Ethiopia, according to earlier reports (Getahun and Krikorian 1973). Its habitat extends from northern Ethiopia to the mountainous regions of East Africa and Yemen, all the way to south Africa, between latitudes 18 °N and 30 °S. It is cultivated mostly on hillsides and mountain slopes at altitudes of 1500–2000 m above sea level (Nordal 1980; Krikorian 1984). Besides Ethiopia and Yemen, the khat plant is now grown in Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar. However, the use of the plant is by no means restricted to the natives of these countries, but extends to other Asian countries and immigrant communities in several Western countries (Kalix 1990).


Callus Induction Micropropagated Plant Indole Butyric Acid Multiple Shoot Formation Micropropagated Plantlet 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. Elhag
  • J. S. Mossa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy, College of PharmacyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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