Coca is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to north-western South America. The plant plays a significant role in traditional Andean culture. Coca leaves contain cocaine alkaloids, a basis for the drug cocaine, which is a powerful stimulant.
The plant resembles a blackthorn bush, and grows to a height of 2–3 m (7–10 ft). The branches are straight, and the leaves, which have a green tint, are thin, opaque, oval, and taper at the extremities. A marked characteristic of the leaf is an areolated portion bounded by two longitudinal curved lines, one line on each side of the midrib, and more conspicuous on the under face of the leaf.
The flowers are small, and disposed in little clusters on short stalks; the corolla is composed of five yellowish-white petals, the anthers are heart-shaped, and the pistil consists of three carpels united to form a three-chambered ovary. The flowers mature into red berries.
The leaves are sometimes eaten by the larvae of the moth Eloria noyesi.