Are we really growing Kratom?

I’ve recently seen a few posts on some of the Kratom related Reddit forums discussing whether or not most of the Kratom plants grown in the US are actually Mitragyna speciosa, as opposed to other species of the Mitragyna genus. 

For years I’ve assumed that my Rifat tree was a true Kratom plant. Most Kratom pics I saw looked similar to mine and were identified as Rifat or (less commonly) Bumblebee. Some of the larger Kratom tree sellers claim that they offer other types (Malay, Green Thai, Vietnam, etc.) but even those all look suspiciously like my Rifat. And all claimed to be Kratom.

I started looking for pics of other Mitragyna species and the one that most closely matches my “Rifat” is not Mitragyna speciosa, but Mitragyna tubulosa.

When I looked at the gallery in the Wikipedia link every image looked like it could have been taken from my tree.

And this tree isn’t even from Indonesia, but from India.

To add to the confusion, the picture shown in the Wikipedia entry for Mitragyna speciosa also looks like this one. But, they have a different image further down that looks very different. The leaves from that image look exactly the same as the leaves on my West Kali plant. I’m 99.9% sure that the West Kali is a true Kratom plant.

One redditor posted the results of a chromatography experiment that he claims shows Rifat plants contain no mitragynine. This would also indicate the Rifat’s are not true Kratom plants since Mitragyna speciosa is the only species that contains it.

On the bright side, all Mitragyna species contain a number of alkaloids including analgesic ones so they are useful. But are the ones commonly grown here true Kratom? A couple of years ago I would have considered that a silly question, but now I’m honestly not sure.

Here are a few links describing so if the other species in the Mitragyna genus.

@pete2000.     I too, got my Thai, Vietnamese,  Malaysian, and Indonesian clones from that guy in Arizona too

... and all the fish fertilizer and black Kow manure to feed these look-alike weeds...

 Sorta like raising a kid, only to find out that the mailman was screwing your wife 10 years ago.  Oh, the humanity! (lol) 

 ❄❄ I don't really feel so bad about the 33°F frosty arctic leaf drop now. ❄❄

 maybe the flowers are the way to find out, like with orchids that look alike, until they bloom?

 white to yellow pompoms that are fragrant?
last edited by peteypyro

@peteypyro it looks like some species do have (slightly) different flowers. The link below has images of reddish Mitragyna flowers that are identified as Mitragyna parvifolia and more whitish ones from Mitragyna inermis.

I’d kinda like to grow all of them lol.

I took a look at the pictures in the mitragyna tubulosa post and i can tell you none of our trees are this tree. I have worked with these trees almost daily and I can close my eyes and see every distinct features of our trees. The leaf structure looks close but does not look the same. But the biggest giveaway that they are not the same is the structure of the seed pods. 1. not as many pods. 2. the tips are not narrowed off, 3. the puffed out black ones are to fuzzy looking. 4. I'm not seeing any yellow streaks in fertile pods (which may not of been taking place at the times of the photograph) 

@guywithtrees that’s good to know. Unless I can find some more info I’ll assume mine is a true Mitragyna speciosa that came from a clone Claude Rifat brought from Thailand. 

I would like to know why it looks so different from the Borneo ones, and if there is some inherent difference in mitragynine levels between the two. Maybe I’ll get lab tests done when my Kali plants get a bit older.  Have you guys ever had any testing done?

Here’s a link from a Royal Botanical Gardens site that identifies about 20 different species of Mitragyna.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many pics. Some only have an image of an old leaf or sketch made by a botanist 150 years ago. Hard to believe how little good info there is. Maybe it’s time to start work on an Encyclopedia Speciosa lol.

@pete2000 I checked out that site but I feel its missing way to much content. Are they a for profit org or something? I'd give them a couple pics to use over the dried out leaf on the site. 

@guywithtrees its the digital database (plants of the world online) of the Kew botanical gardens in London. Looks like they host the largest collection of plants in the world. It’s now on my list of things to do if I ever go to London lol.

But I agree there isn’t much info there. This is the big problem when it comes to trying to understand really all aspects of Kratom - too little actual science and way too much “bro” science.

I’m curious, how old were your trees when you starting feeling effects and did those effects get stronger as the trees got older?

@pete2000 oh wow yah thats something i have to check out. And yah I do agree with you on that. 

I think @will can answer that better. But I def do notice a difference in effects from when they were younger to now.