Bixa L.

First published in Sp. Pl.: 512 (1753)
This genus is accepted
The native range of this genus is Mexico to S. Tropical America.

Descriptions

Bixaceae, D. M. Bridson. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1975

Note
Characters of the family.
[FTEA]

Bixaceae, H. Wild. Flora Zambesiaca 1:1. 1960

Note
Characters of the family.
[FZ]

Timothy M. A. Utteridge and Laura V. S. Jennings (2022). Trees of New Guinea. Kew Publishing. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Distribution
Bixa is native to the Neotropics, but Bixa orellana L. is widely cultivated and naturalised throughout the tropics, including in New Guinea.
Morphology General Habit
Evergreen trees and shrubs to 10 m tall. Latex usually present, reddish
Morphology General Indumentum
Indumentum of reddish peltate scales
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules present, caducous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, petiole often thickened at the base and apex, chartaceous, ovate, base cordate, margin entire, apex acuminate. Inflorescences terminal, thyrsoid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, showy, 5-merous; calyx lobes free, caducous; petals free, white or pink, alternating with calyx lobes; stamens numerous, free, anthers dithecal, horseshoe-shaped, dehsicing by apical slits; ovary superior, sessile, carpels 2, 1-locular, placentation parietal, ovules numerous, style simple
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a 2-valved loculicidal capsule, often laterally compressed, exocarp usually with bristly hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds numerous, obovoid, covered with a red sarcotesta.
Ecology
Bixa is cultivated in New Guinea for the red dye extracted from the seeds and is therefore usually associated with villages and gardens, but is also naturalised in open areas like forest margins. It has been collected from elevations up to 1200 m.
Recognition
It is very distinctive on account of the red, bristly fruits, but can also be recognised by the long petioles which are thickened at both ends, the cordate leaf base and the 5-merous, showy flowers with white or pink petals and numerous stamens.
[TONG]

Sources

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Trees of New Guinea

    • Trees of New Guinea
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0