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Bixa orellana


Called "ipiak" by the native Indian population, this shrub (4-8 m) has white blossoms (foto #2) at the points of the branches. The bright red/orange pods grow in clusters has leaves nearly as wide as they are long. The seed pods grow in clusters, are bright red to dark red and are covered with softish bristles. Inside the pod are dozens of small, very soft seeds.


These shrubs were photographed in a native village in the Amazon rainforest near the Peruvian border (330 m).


This is a very common shrub in the gardens of the native Indian population where the seeds are smashed (foto #3) and used to paint fibers for weaving, pottery, intricate facial patterns and miscellaneous designs. The brightness varies from plant to plant, possibly depending on the maturity. To a lesser degree in the jungle, but more so on the outside, the ground seeds are widely used for flavor in traditional Latin American dishes.

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Tukup 11 months ago

Thanks Saturniidae. I understand it is used in cooking, but here, deep in the jungle, it is used strictly as a red dye or for facial painting among the tribes.

Saturniidae27 11 months ago

Nice spotting Tukup. Looks a lot like the rambutan fruit, which is very common in places in Asia(:

Brian38 12 months ago

Well there are 2 more spots for images left on your spotting.

Tukup 12 months ago

Thanks Brian. Makes the brightest red lipstick you've ever seen :-)

Brian38 12 months ago

Very cool spotting Tukup! Amazing color!

Spotted by

Pumpuetsa, Morona Santiago, Ecuador

Spotted on Jan 23, 2020
Submitted on Jan 30, 2020

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