Achiote Tree | An Herbal Ornamental for the Garden

Garden Variety

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Achiote (Bixa orellana), A.K.A. the Lipstick Tree, is a small deciduous tree native to Mexico, Central and South America. Achiote can grow up to 20 to 30 feet tall if grown as a tree. However, if pruned correctly, it can retain it’s shrubbery height of 12 feet. Throughout the growing season, Achiote produces  attractive, heart-shaped leaves and an abundance of light pink flowers. It produces inedible green fruit that, when it matures, turns a brownish-rust in color and is covered with soft, spiky hairs.

Inside of the Achiote’s fruit are an abundance of seeds surrounded by pulp that is a bright red/orange in color. However, the seeds (Annato) are the true prize, as they are used commercially worldwide to create a red dye that is used widely in various types of products such as cheese, rice, butter and even cosmetics.

Visually, Achiote makes an exceedingly beautiful addition to gardens in…

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