It takes seven to eight years for the khat plant to reach its full height.

Other than access to sun and water, khat requires little maintenance.

the khat plant has over the years found its way to Southern Africa as well as tropical areas, where it grows on rocky outcrops and in woodlands.

Some studies done in 2001 estimated that the income from cultivating khat was about 2.5 million Yemeni rials per hectare, while fruits brought only 0.57 million rials per hectare.

Between 19, the area on which khat was cultivated was estimated to have grown from 8,000 to 103,000 hectares.

It is also known as jimaa in the Oromo language and mayirungi in Luganda Language.

Khat has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

It has evergreen leaves, which are 5–10 cm long and 1–4 cm broad.

The shrub's flowers are produced on short axillary cymes that are 4–8 cm in length. The samara fruit is an oblong, three-valved capsule, which contains one to three seeds.

Its fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, to achieve a state of euphoria and stimulation; it also has anorectic (appetite-reducing) side effects.

The leaves or the soft part of the stem can be chewed with either chewing gum or fried peanuts to make it easier to chew.

In recent years, however, improved roads, off-road motor vehicles, and air transportation have increased the global distribution of this perishable commodity, and as a result, the plant has been reported in England, Wales, Rome, Amsterdam, Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Water consumption is so high, groundwater levels in the Sanaa basin are diminishing, so government officials have proposed relocating large portions of the population of Sana'a to the coast of the Red Sea.

One reason for khat being cultivated in Yemen so widely is the high income it provides for farmers.

Khat goes by various traditional names, such as kat, qat, qaad, ghat, chat, Abyssinian Tea, Somali Tea, Miraa, Arabian Tea, and Kafta in its endemic regions of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.