achiote leaves & fruit



Kunth 1822

pronounced: bix-AY-see-eye

the achiote family

The family includes three genera and a total of 25 species, although Cochlospermum is sometimes placed into its own family, Cochlospermaceae. The best-known member of the achiote family is Bixa orellana, the source of the food colorant and flavour additive annatto, E160b. Although small, the family includes trees, shrubs and herbs. They all have bisexual flowers with 4 or 5 sepals, and many of the plants produce a red, orange or yellow latex. The leaves are simple, alternate, palmately veined, lobed or entire. Stipules are present. The inflorescences may be terminal or axillary. The fruit is a loculicidal capsule. Numerous seeds are produced, glabrous or cottony hairy.



Photograph by Primejyothi (own work) via Wikimedia Commons