Tree native to tropical parts of Central and western South America, it grows up to 10 meters tall and has rose-pink flowers about 5 cm wide and ovate leaves about 8 to 18 cm long. The red brown fruits, about 5-8 cm long capsule, yield a reddish or yellowish powder that is used in a dye. The plant is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
The tree is best known as the source of annatto, a natural orange-red pigment (also called achiote) obtained from the waxy arils that cover its seeds. This is a plant that is very important to the lives of local people, providing as it does a very wide range of foods and materials.
East Africa (Costa d’Avorio) – South America (Perù).
The ground seeds are widely used in traditional dishes in Central and South America. Its pigment extract is also used as coloring in the industrial food to add yellow or orange color to many products as butter, cheese, ice cream, in the cosmetic products as lipstick, hair coloring products, nail polish, soaps, lacquers and for dyeing textiles.
For medical use they are internal used as expectorant, astringent, purgative, lowers fever, improves digestion, external as treatment for skin rashes.
When completely ripe.
Pleasant flavoured smell.
Light and heat sensitive, they lose part of their coloring property if badly stored.