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This name was used incorrectly for many years for one of the most frequently cultivated species of Cinchona. However Andersson (1998) studied these species in detail and found that the name Cinchona officinalis actually applies to a species that naturally grows only in a particular region of the Andes of southern Ecuador, and contains at most trace amounts of quinine, or sometimes no quinine at all. The cultivated species is actually Cinchona calisaya, which is rather similar to Cinchona officinalis but among other differences, produces significant quantities of quinine. (The other main cultivated species is Cinchona pubescens.) Because of this confusion and lack of taxonomic understanding, many authors have used the name C. officinalis for these cultivated plants, and thus many of the photos, specimens, and ecological and chemical studies of "C. officinalis" have misidentified the plants, which are actually C. calisaya.


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