The Lipstick Tree ( Bixa orellana)

bixa flowerOriginating from Tropical America the Lipstick tree, as it’s commonly called, is prized for it’s pretty blooms and interesting seed pods.

Bixa is a small, ornamental shrub or tree with a round head. The seeds of the flower have a reddish powder which can be used as a vegetable tint for soaps, rice, and many other products.

It is believed to come from Brazil originally but was brought to Central and South America by the Indians, who used the coloring as body paint, and by women, who used it as lipstick. The dye contains Vitamin C. There are many medical uses for Bixa including; antacid, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aperient (mild laxative), aphrodisiac, astringent, digestive stimulant and many more.

When it comes to cut flowers, it’s not the pretty blooms that are used in the floral industry but the unique seed pods instead.  As pretty as the blooms are, they are best left on the tree as they don’t  last when cut. The seed pods however do last and add a unique look and texture to floral arrangements.

Annatto Tree Seed PodsYou can grow bixa from seed easily enough, make sure to plant the seeds when the temperature is at least 19°C. Plant in full sun, ensure your soil is rich as Bixa needs the nutrients. Once established you can expect to see blooms from summer to the end of fall. When the blooms are gone you will see the seed pods emerge.

Gardening Tip: Bixa makes for a great hedge to line fences, driveways, etc.
Climate zones 10-12.


About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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