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Keywords in this picture :
Places where this species can be found :
- Grenada - GRENADA
DescriptionTree to 6m; lf stalk swollen at both ends; blades ovate, 7-25cm long, entire; 5 petals 2-3cm, rounded at tip, pink; many stamens; capsules egg-shaped, 3-5cm long with 1cm spines, splitting to reveal red-coated seeds.
Interest'Bixa' is derived fromt he Brazilian name Biche; Biche, means beak in Portuguese, reference to the open fruit. Orellana after Francis de Orellana, an explorer of the Amazon 1505-1550. Orellana, Francisco de , d. c. 1546, Spanish explorer of the Amazon River. He took part in the conquest of Peru and was a lieutenant of Gonzalo Pizarro on the expedition that started into the interior of South America in 1538. At the Napo River his detachment was separated from the rest of the expedition, and he floated down the length of the Amazon arriving at its mouth in Aug., 1541. His tales of female warriors (possibly a mistaken impression of long-haired male warriors) gave the river its name. He died in a subsequent attempt to explore the river from its mouth. Source of commercial annatto. Originates in the lowlands of S.America. Stands in Guiana along rivers, but maybe v. long cultivated. Ecuadorian Siona Indians cultivate 3 forms of B.orellana. (Outside America, dried capsicum had similar roles). Achiote in Spanish, urucu in Portuguese. Probably originally domesticated for body paint, against evil, for war, and against insects. Good for lipstick etc. Use for Cloth, Dyes may have arisen later. It is also used as a medicine against epilepsy, fever and VD, and as a chocolate additive in Mexico. Smith et al. (1992) state that, like sweet potato, it was in the Pacific area before the Europeans: Marquesas inhabitants knew about it when first missionaries arrived. Maybe Portuguese took It to eg Timor & Moluccas and thence. Or Peruvian or Polynesian travellers may have dispersed it. However, Burkill (1935) stated that the Spanish took it to the Philippines, and thence it went to the Moluccas. Hindus use it as a dye in their Holi festical, but this use is farily trecent; in 1808 its use was said to be 'rapidly spreading over Bengal'. Its use in Europe and USA was replaced by Red Dye no. 3 until that was implicated in cancer and banned. Bixin, identified in 1825, is used to colour butter, cheese, chocolate, and still not synthesised. Sometimes used to colour oid-down in Grenada,