Bixa orellana, Achiote/Annato, one of the fastest growing shrubs/trees

Bixa orellana is in the competition for one of the fastest growing trees in South Florida with moringa and strawberry tree.

Achiote (Bixa orellana) is a shrub native to a region between northern South America and Mexico. Nowadays, Bixa orellana is grown in many countries worldwide.

Coloring agent

The tree is best known as the source of annatto, a natural orange-red condiment (also called achiote or bijol) obtained from the waxy arils that cover its seeds.


The ground seeds are widely used in traditional dishes in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, such as cochinita pibil, chicken in achiote and caldo de olla. Annatto and its extracts are also used as an industrial food coloring to add yellow or orange color to many products such as butter, cheese, margarine, ice creams, meats, and condiments. Seeds were originally used to make red body paint and lipstick, as well as a spice. For this reason, the Bixa orellana is sometimes called the lipstick tree.

Bixa orellana is a perennial, tall shrub that can reach 6–10 m (20–33 ft) high.

Bixa orellana grows easily in subtropical to tropical climates. It can be propagated from seed and cuttings.

From Sulcata Grove Instagram post:

"Bixa orellana, known as Achiote and Annatto. This may be the fastest growing tree on our property. We grew ours from seed and it flowered and produced the next year. Hummingbirds seem to love the large clumps of pink flowers. Once the pods are mature, the seeds and surrounding pulp can be soaked in a small amount of oil to color and lightly flavor foods or in coloring cosmetics. Alternatively, the seeds can be crushed and made into a powder. Each year, we cut the trees to the ground and they explode with growth again. The trees do amazingly well here in Sarasota, but do require a lot of pruning if you have limited space. Craig recently pruned this particular tree which is growing in with our chickens. Rather than cutting to the ground, he took out all of the bottom branches, leaving the canopy to help give cover for our sweet chickens when they are out foraging. The wood is soft and a beautiful shade of yellow near the bark."

eBay seeds:

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