Ipecacuanha is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is native to Brazil and its common name, ipecacuanha, is derived from the Tupiipega'kwãi, or "duck penis". The plant has been discussed under a variety of synonyms over the years by variousbotanists. The roots are used to make syrup of ipecac, a powerful emetic.
Part of ipecacuanha used in medicine is the root, which is simple or divided into a few branches, flexuous, and is composed of rings of various size, somewhat fleshy when fresh, and appearing as if closely strung on a central woody cord. The different kinds known in commerce (gray, red, brown) are all produced by the same plant, the differences arising from the age of the plant, the mode of drying, etc. Various other plants are used as substitutes for it.
Ipecacuanha contains the pseudo-tannin ipecacuanhic acid or cephaëlic acid.