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AchioteBotanical Name: Bixa orellana

Also known as annatto or the Lipstick tree, originates from South America and has spread in popularity to many parts of Asia. It is very popular in Philippine cooking. Grows and a dense small tree or shrub. The heart shaped fruits are brown or reddish brown at maturity, and are covered with short stiff hairs. When fully mature the fruits split open exposing the numerous dark red seeds. While the fruit itself is not edible, the orange-red pulp that covers the seed is used as a commercial food colouring and dye (similar to turmeric). The achiote dye is prepared by stirring the seeds in water, and is popular in South America and Asia to colour rice, desserts, butter, cheese, and many other foods. In the Philippine Islands the seeds are ground and used as a condiment. Tree is extremely beautiful in full flowering and fruiting. Can be grown in a container, prefers a frost-free climate.

Other Names: Lipstick Tree
ImagePriceAvail.PropagationSizeBuy Options
$4.95 18 Seedling Pot: 0.25L
Height: 20-30cm

Buy 8 or more @ $2.45ea

$16.90 0 Seedling Pot: 0.75L
Height: 40-50cm
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$14.90 0 Seedling Pot: 0.5L
Height: 20-30cm
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Extra Images & Youtube Videos - Click to view full size
bixa flowers and seed pods forming Achiote Flowers Achiote Bixa How the Incas made Blood Red Chocolate Achiote - Bixa For Sale (Size: Medium)  (Grown from Seed) Leaf of the Achiote Bixa Achiote - Bixa For Sale (Size: Small)  (Grown from Seed)

Plant Information or Specifications

Preferred Climate

Tropical, Subtropical
Learn About Climate Zones

Max Height (when in the ground with good conditions)


Plants required to Pollinate

1 (Self Pollinating)
Learn about Pollination

Can it Handle Frosts?


Amount of leaves in Winter?

All Leaves (Evergreen)

Suitability in Pots


Water Requirements

Moderate Watering

Is it a Dwarf Fruit Tree?

Can be pruned to 2m

Time to Fruit/Flower/Harvest

2-3 Years

Sun or Shade

Full (Sun:80%-100%)

Preferred Soil Type

Good Drainage

Soil pH

Neutral (6.6-7.3pH)

Fruiting/Harvest Months

April, May, June, July, August, September


Customer Comments on Achiote - Bixa

Tree Information on growing, planting, pruning, maintenance, ripening, taste, pick or bonsai tips. But mainly how to grow a Achiote - Bixa Share Your Advice or ask questions on our Forum

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Achiote - Bixa

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Achiote - Bixa (Seedling) 7/10

Amethyst's Edible Fruits
Update: 1847 days 15hrs

Comments: -

Update September 2104: Bixa is an excellent tree to prune to a manageable size if you don't want it too big. I cut mine back to about half in winter and it re-shoots subsequent months to flower magnificently in autumn.


Nice pink flowers, glossy green leaves and easy to manage as a small tree. I collected seed from under a specimen in a park and four years later I have a flourishing specimen. Moderately fast grower

Fruiting Months October and November

Planted: 2007

Height 2 metres

Growing: In the Ground

Qty: 2

Sun/Shade: Full Sun

Water Given in: Summer

Pruned By: 20% in Summer

Pollination: No

Pest Control:

Does not seem to suffer from pests.


How do I prepare the seeds as a natural colouring?

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10 of 20 people found this review useful

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Achiote - Bixa (Seedling)

Kath's Edible Fruits
Update: 2897 days 6hrs

Comments: - It is beautiful and interesting.

Planted: 2011

Growing: In the Ground

Sun/Shade: Full Shade

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8 of 19 people found this review useful

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Achiote - Bixa

Ellen's Edible Fruits
Update: 3745 days 12hrs

Comments: -

Supplier - Daleys

Got it last summer 08

It had grown

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6 of 16 people found this review useful

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Achiote - Bixa

Margssubtropical1's Edible Fruits
Update: 3511 days 13hrs

Comments: -

New in pot  march 2010

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5 of 16 people found this review useful

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For Further Information:

Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages