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In the context of the royal reserve (Real Estanco) established for la quina, this essay probes the imperial culture of knowledge production in the Monarquía. The Spanish government in New Granada had a critically underestimated role in the development of science. Local government officials as well as commoners exercised an enormous influence on imperial policy regarding the domains of the organic world. In practice, a continuing emphasis on local knowledge and expertise was not only integral to the epistemic culture of the colonial government but would later shape the way in which botanists and other scientific practitioners were integrated into the royal reserve of quina and the Spanish Empire at large. Consequently, an understanding of this epistemic culture is crucial not just to our understanding of Enlightenment and empire in the Spanish Atlantic but also to our understanding of the distinctive—and not derivative—relationship between science and empire that would develop as the Spanish Atlantic embraced modernity.