Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bixa and the Bees

The Lipstick tree, BIxa orellana is planted as a roadside tree in many parts of my suburb. Some of the trees have white flowers and greenish white seedpods. I love the pink flowered variety with its bright red seed pods. There is a lot of bee activity among these flowers.
Yesterday, I saw some Blue Banded Bees among the flowers. They were jostling the common Apis indica to get at the pollen.

The Blue banded bee is not very common here. I have read that it is a native of Australia. I wonder how it travelled all the way from Brisbane to Bangalore!Below is the picture of an Indian bee at the flower.

The Lipstick Tree itself is a native of South America. The seed pods are used to make an industrial dye.


  1. Also known as annato it is used as a food colouring in the Caribbean and South America. In the french islands, in Grenada and in Trinidad it is known a roucou (roocoo). You can see how the dye is extracted for cooking here

  2. Are those just red seed pods? They look too luscious not to be berries :( I liked islandgal's info; now, I'll have to find the plant!

  3. Islandgal, thanks for the info.
    Shailaja, those seedpods are sort of hairy.

  4. What a very pretty tree and those bees are really neat! I've never heard of them, I love the coloring!

  5. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and
    I was wanting to know your situation; we have created some nice practices and we are looking to trade
    strategies with other folks, please shoot me an email if interested.

    Review my web page: