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Bixa orellana
Open fruit pods


From the resemblance of open fruit pods to red lips.


lipstick tree (plural lipstick trees)

  1. (botany) The shrub Bixa orellana, of tropical regions of the Americas.
    • 1960, Sydney Clark, All the Best in Hawaii, page 338,
      Among flowering trees and shrubs of the Kona Coast, kalu, or yellow mimosa, is common, as is the yellow Timor shower, as is the lipstick tree, whose pods give an orange-red substance good not only for lips but—if local claims are true—for margarine.
    • 1985, Helen A. Wolfe, Adventure Bound: From Backpacking in New Zealand to Bushwhacking in South Africa, page 56,
      Here grow the tropical lipstick trees — source of color for foods — and the flowering African tulips.
    • 2011, Rosabelle Boswell, Re-presenting Heritage in Zanzibar and Madagascar, page 114,
      Crushed and infused in warm water, the roots of the lipstick tree increases male desire. However, the seeds of the lipstick tree can also be used as an alternative to saffron and is added to tandoori curry to produce a red colour.