Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Bixa orellana
(annatto)

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Datasheet

Bixa orellana (annatto)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 30 April 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bixa orellana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • annatto
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • B. orellana is a shrub or small tree which was one of the first American plants to be introduced into southern Asia and tropical Africa and soon became naturalized in these areas and in the East Indies (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Bixa orellana (annatto); habit, planted as a live fence.
TitleHabit
CaptionBixa orellana (annatto); habit, planted as a live fence.
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); habit, planted as a live fence.
HabitBixa orellana (annatto); habit, planted as a live fence.©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); immature fruits.
TitleFruitS
CaptionBixa orellana (annatto); immature fruits.
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); immature fruits.
FruitSBixa orellana (annatto); immature fruits.©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); mature fruits.
TitleFruits
CaptionBixa orellana (annatto); mature fruits.
Copyright©ICRAF
Bixa orellana (annatto); mature fruits.
FruitsBixa orellana (annatto); mature fruits.©ICRAF
Bixa orellana (annatto); mature fruit.
TitleFruit
CaptionBixa orellana (annatto); mature fruit.
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); mature fruit.
FruitBixa orellana (annatto); mature fruit.©Rafael T. Cadiz
Bixa orellana (annatto); morphology. 1. flowering branch. 2. flower. 3. fruit. 4. halved fruit showing seeds.
TitleMorphology
CaptionBixa orellana (annatto); morphology. 1. flowering branch. 2. flower. 3. fruit. 4. halved fruit showing seeds.
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
Bixa orellana (annatto); morphology. 1. flowering branch. 2. flower. 3. fruit. 4. halved fruit showing seeds.
MorphologyBixa orellana (annatto); morphology. 1. flowering branch. 2. flower. 3. fruit. 4. halved fruit showing seeds.PROSEA Foundation

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bixa orellana L.

Preferred Common Name

  • annatto

Other Scientific Names

  • Bixa acuminata Boj.
  • Bixa americana Poir.
  • Bixa katangensis Delpierre
  • Bixa odorata Ruiz & Pav. ex G.Don
  • Bixa orellana var. leiocarpa (Kuntze) Standl. & L.O.Williams
  • Bixa orleana Noronha
  • Bixa purpurea Sweet
  • Bixa tinctaria Salisb.
  • Bixa upatensis Ram.Goyena
  • Orellana americana (Poir.) Kuntze
  • Orellana orellana (L.) Kuntze

International Common Names

  • English: anatto; annatto tree; arnato tree; lip stick tree; lipstick plant; lipstick tree
  • Spanish: achiolte (Spain); bija
  • French: annato; orelana; rocou; rocouyer; roucou
  • Chinese: hong mu
  • Portuguese: anato

Local Common Names

  • Bolivia: urucú; urucú del monte; urucú silvestre
  • Brazil: açafroa; açafroeira-da-terra; achiote; coloral; urucum; urucuzeiro; uru-uva
  • El Salvador: gujachote
  • Fiji: nggesa; nggisa; qesa
  • French Polynesia: ‘uaefa
  • Germany: Achote; Annottastrauch; Bischofsmütze; Orleanbaum; Orleanstrauch
  • Honduras: analto
  • Indonesia/Java: galinggem; galuga; galugu; kasumba; kleking; pacar keling; somba keling
  • Indonesia/Kalimantan: kasumba
  • Indonesia/Moluccas: galuga; kasumba; kasupa; taluka
  • Indonesia/Sulawesi: paparada; rapoparada; simba; tuwa
  • Indonesia/Sumatra: batang; delinggem; gelinggem; kassumbo; kesumba
  • Italy: bixa; orellana; orleana; roucou; rucu
  • Japan: hiryu-sida; okenoki
  • Madagascar: vahinamalona
  • Mexico: axiote
  • Netherlands: analto; orleaanboom
  • Peru: atolé
  • Philippines: achuete; echuete; sotis
  • Suriname: kowssewee; roucou
  • Thailand: kam set; kam tai
  • Tonga: loa
  • USA/Hawaii: ‘alaea; ‘alaea la‘au; kūmauna
  • Venezuela: onotillo; onoto

EPPO code

  • BIXOR (Bixa orellana)

Summary of Invasiveness

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B. orellana is a shrub or small tree which was one of the first American plants to be introduced into southern Asia and tropical Africa and soon became naturalized in these areas and in the East Indies (Morton, 1960). It is recognized as an exotic species in the Lesser and Greater Antilles. In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands it is considered to be naturalized (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong 2012). It is listed as invasive principally on Pacific islands, although a risk assessment considers it as low risk in the region (PIER, 2015).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Malvales
  •                         Family: Bixaceae
  •                             Genus: Bixa
  •                                 Species: Bixa orellana

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The annatto tree belongs to the genus Bixa in the family Bixaceae. Bixa is one of just four genera of the family Bixaceae and comprises about 5 species (The Plant List, 2013) confined to Central and South America, with only Bixa orellana cultivated and sometimes naturalized in many other tropical regions of the world. The genus name perpetuates the aboriginal Taino word “bixa” (Morton, 1960), while orellano comes from Francisco Orellana, who was the first European to navigate the Amazon (Silva et al., 2010). Although many cultivated types exist, there is no official cultivar classification (Jansen 2005). The present classification of the genus Bixa into five separate species comes from a 1976 revision by Baer (Leal and Clavijo, 2011). It has been argued that B. orellana is only a cultivated species, domesticated from Bixa urucurana (Moreira et al., 2015). Numerous colloquial names are shared by the plant and the dye product derived from it (Morton, 1960).

Description

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The following description is from the Flora of Panama (2016):

Shrub or tree, 1.5-10 (15) m tall, the trunk up to 10 cm in diameter. Leaves: petioles slender, terete, slightly enlarged at the apex, 1.8- 14 cm long, more or less densely covered with minute scales;  stipules narrowly ovate, acuminate, ca 1 cm long, fugacious; blade ovate or sometimes ovate-triangular, infrequently oblong-ovate, the base truncate or truncate-subcordate or rounded or rounded-subcordate, the apex sometimes acute to generally gradually long-acuminate and with the acumen usually blunt and often inconspicuously mucronulate, entire-margined, 5.5-27 cm long and 3-18 cm wide, membranous to chartaceous, 5-palminerved, slightly discoloured, the upper surface usually more or less shining and glabrous or sparsely lepidote especially when young and along the veins, the lower surface dull, paler, more or less densely lepidote, and with the main veins and secondary veins prominent.

Panicles few- to many-flowered, the axes densely covered with minute, reddish-brown scales, the bracts and bracteoles squamiform and fugacious. Flowers with the pedicels up to 1 cm long, densely covered with minute, reddish-brown scales; sepals circular, cucullate, 7-9 mm in diam, densely lepidote outside; petals obovate, rounded at the apex, 20-33 mm long and 8-20 mm wide, white or pink; androecium ca 14-15 mm long, the filaments filiform, the anthers ca 1-1.5 mm long; ovary more or less globose to pyriform, densely to sparsely bristly, the style up to 15 mm long, slightly enlarged towards the apex, glabrous. Capsules very variable in shape, size, and indumentum, oblong-ovoid to ovoid to globose to + reniform to transversely ellipsoid, more or less flat- tended or not, rounded to acute or sometimes acuminate at the apex, 1.3-4.5 cm long and 1.3-4 cm broad, brown to flaming red, densely to sparsely covered with long or sometimes short, flexible spines, sometimes nearly smooth; seeds obovoid- angular, ca 5 mm long, the testa densely reddish-orange papillate.

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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The exact origin of B. orellana is uncertain, but it is native to the American tropics. Morton (1960) quotes de Candolle: "it is said to be indigenous by Seemann on the northwest coast of Mexico and Panama, by Triana in New Granada, by Meyer in Dutch Guiana, and by Piso and Claussen in Brazil”. B. orellana is found in largest quantities from Mexico to Ecuador, Brazil, and Bolivia. Moreira et al. (2015) suggest that cultivated B. orellana was domesticated from Bixa urucurana in northern South America.

Bixa has been found in and about the towns of the Philippines (Quisumbing, 1951), southeastern Africa (Williamson, 1955), and Dominica (Honychurch, 1986), and has been commonly planted in Florida as an ornamental (Morton, 1960). In tropical Africa it is cultivated on a commercial scale in Kenya and on a small scale in all other countries. It has become naturalized very locally, e.g. in Kenya and Tanzania (Jansen, 2005). It is cultivated in warm regions of Asia, such as India, Sri Lanka, and Java mainly for the dye which the seeds yield.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

BhutanPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
CambodiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
ChinaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-GuangdongPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
-YunnanPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015
IndiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
-West BengalPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
-JavaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
LaosPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
MyanmarPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
NepalPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009; PIER, 2015
SingaporePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
TaiwanPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
ThailandPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
VietnamPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
BeninPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
CameroonPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
ChadPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
ComorosPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
CongoPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
GabonPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
GhanaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
GuineaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
KenyaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
LiberiaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
MalawiPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
MauritiusPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
MayottePresentIntroducedPIER, 2015Naturalised, potentially invasive
NigeriaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
RéunionPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
South AfricaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018Natal
SudanPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
-ZanzibarPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
UgandaPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
ZambiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2018

North America

MexicoPresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009Campeche, Chiapas, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan
USARestricted distributionIntroducedMorton, 1960Cultivated in Florida
-FloridaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMorton, 1960
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999Kaua’s, Maui, Moloka’I, O’ahu Islands

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BelizePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012St. John and Tortola
Costa RicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
GuatemalaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Izabal, Jutiapa, Petén, Retalhuleu, Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Suchitepéquez, Zacapa
HaitiPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
JamaicaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MontserratPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
PanamaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Naturalized
SabaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Sint EustatiusPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedHassler, 2016

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Salta, Buenos Aires
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija
BrazilWidespreadNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AcrePresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AlagoasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AmapaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AmazonasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-BahiaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-CearaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Distrito FederalPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-GoiasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-MaranhaoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParaibaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParanaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-PernambucoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-PiauiPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-RondoniaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-RoraimaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Sao PauloPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-SergipePresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-TocantinsPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
ChilePresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
ColombiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Antioquia, Amalfi, Andes, Anorí, Barbosa, Bolivar, Caucasia, Girardota, Gómez Plata, Heliconia, Itaguí, Liborina, Medellín, MutatÁ, Puerto Berrío, San Luis, San Roque, TarazÁ, Turbo, Valdivia, Vigía del Fuerte
EcuadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Bolívar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Guayas, Los Ríos, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Pastaza, Pichincha
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015Florena, Isabela, Volcan Sierra Negra, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz Islands
French GuianaPresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
GuyanaPresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
ParaguayPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Amambay, Central, Cordillera, Paraguarí, Presidente, Hayes
PeruPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Cusco, Huánuco, Junín, Lima, Loreto, San Martín
SurinamePresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
UruguayPresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
VenezuelaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015Amazonas, Aragua, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro, Distrito Federal, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Sucre, Táchira

Europe

SpainPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009

Oceania

Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
American SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015Manu’a Islands, Ofu, and Ta’u Islands, Tutuila Islands
AustraliaPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2016
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2016
-Western AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2016
Cook IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 1981
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015Marquesas Islands, Society Islands
GuamPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015New Caledonia Islands, Ile Grande Terre
NiuePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015Rota, Saipan and Tinian Islands
PalauPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henty, 1981
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
TongaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2015
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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According to NatureServe (2018), B. orellana is a “cultivated shrub which does not exist in the wild state.” It has been spread by cultivation and is now found naturalized and in cultivation in southern Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the West Indies. Leal and Clavijo (2011) suggest that it was dispersed from the western Andes to the rest of Latin America by the Amerindians, and after discovery by Europeans following the voyages of Columbus was then distributed worldwide across the humid tropics and subtropics.

Plantations were common in Brazil in the 16th century and in Jamaica in the 17th (Morton, 1960). There are records of several introductions of B. orellana into Florida by the United States Department of Agriculture: No. 44954 in 1917, from Brazil; No. 50222 in 1920, from Belgian Congo; No. 51910 in 1920, from Uganda; No. 76416 in 1927, from Uganda; and No. 92343 in 1931, from Mexico (Morton, 1960).
 
In 1828, the Dutch government ordered the planting of annatto trees along the roadsides in Java so that the dye could be exported to Europe. The dairy industry in Europe, England and the USA consumed great quantities of annatto for many years prior to the First World War. In 1899, the United States imported over 700,000 lbs. from Puerto Rico alone. In 1917, the total amount from all sources imported into the United States was reported to have declined considerably and was at that time averaging 800,000 lbs. a year. In 1928, the world supply of several hundred tons a year was derived mainly from Brazil, India and Puerto Rico. In 1934, Peru was exporting some 2,200 tons and in 1935 Ecuador about a tenth as much. In 1940, India was said to be shipping 200 tons annually (Morton 1960). The largest current producers are Peru, Kenya and Brazil (Jansen, 2005).

Habitat

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B. orellana grows equally well in lowlands and mountainous regions or areas of higher elevation (Bruggeman, 1957). All the naturally growing annatto shrubs in Puerto Rico are found on neglected or abandoned farmland, some of which has grown up to early secondary forest (PIER, 2015). In Fiji, it is "noted from near sea level to an elevation of about 600 m, usually cultivated but also occasionally naturalized on edges of forest, in thickets, and in waste places" (Smith, 1981). In Papua New Guinea, it occurs in gardens and secondary regrowth or disturbed forest to 2000 m altitude, on well-drained areas or margins of Metroxylon swamps (PIER, 2015).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

In its area of natural distribution, B. orellana is widespread and does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion. Chromosome number: 2n = 16 (Jansen, 2005).

Physiology and Phenology

B. orellana can be propagated by seed and stem cuttings. Mature seeds taken directly from fresh fruits germinate readily in 7–10 days under moist conditions. Cleaned, sundried seeds retain viability for over one year, but their germination rate falls to 12% in 3 years. Seed-grown plants take comparatively long to flower and initially do so sparingly; they are very tall and exhibit much variation. Plants propagated by cuttings flower early and profusely and bear fruit within two years.

Pollination is by insects; honeybees are observed in plenty around the plant. Fruits mature 5–6 months after pollination. Under favourable conditions, fruiting commences 18 months from planting or earlier, and production of seed reaches a maximum in 4–12-year-old plants, which can remain productive for more than 20 years (Jansen, 2005). In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, flowering occurs mainly in spring and fruiting chiefly in the summer (Orwa et al., 2009).

Longevity

More than 20 years (Jansen, 2005).

Environmental Requirements

Grown from either seed or cutlings, B. orellana requires full sunlight and protection from the wind (Morton, 1974). B. orellana requires a frost free, warm, humid climate and a sunny location. It can grow in tropical to subtropical climates where rainfall is distributed throughout the year (Orwa et al., 2009). Optimum conditions are an average temperature of 20–26°C in areas with an average annual rainfall of 1250–2000 mm, well distributed over the year but with a dry season for seed ripening. It grows on almost any type of soil, with a preference for neutral to slightly alkaline soils. It grows into a larger tree when planted in deeper and more fertile soil, rich in organic matter (Orwa et al., 2009). It does well on limestone, where the topsoil is only a few cm thick and overlies a coral base. In Africa it is grown from sea-level up to about 2000 m altitude (Jansen, 2005).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
22 -10 0 2200

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 0 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 26

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration3number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall6002000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aleurodicus dispersus Herbivore Whole plant not specific
Aspidiotus destructor Herbivore Whole plant not specific
Ceroplastes rubens Herbivore Whole plant not specific
Icerya seychellarum Herbivore Whole plant not specific
Oidium bixae Pathogen Fruits/pods not specific
Oidium heveae Pathogen Fruits/pods not specific
Phyllosticta bixina Pathogen Leaves not specific
Selenothrips rubrocinctus Herbivore Whole plant not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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B. orellana is generally considered hardy, with only sporadic presence of pests and diseases (Leal and Clavijo, 2011). Young plantations can be defoliated by the leaf cutter ants Atta sexdens and Acromyrmex octospinosus (Leal and Clavijo, 2011). B. orellana is sometimes infested by powdery mildew caused by Oidium bixae (Capretti, 1961; Orwa et al., 2009) and Oidium heveae which attack mainly young fruits; the latter fungus causes powdery mildew in rubber. A foliar disease of minor importance, caused by the fungus Phyllosticta bixina, has been recorded in Guam.

Insect pests are of minor importance; they include spiralling whitefly (Aleurodicus dispersus), pink wax scale (Ceroplastes rubens), transparent scale or coconut scale (Aspidiotus destructor), Seychelles scale (Icerya seychellarum), and redbanded thrips (Selenothrips rubrocinctus) (Jansen, 2005). In Indonesia B. orellana is reported liable to attack by tropical mirid bugs of the genus Helopeltis which are destructive in tea plantations; it has been suggested that B. orellana could act as a trap crop for this pest in Malawi (Peregrine, 1991). In Costa Rica, Milghitea melanoleuca is reported to mine the capsules of B. orellana (Coto and Saunders, 1993). Stator championi, which damages seeds and is found from Brazil to Costa Rica, is reported to be specific to B. orellana (Santos et al., 1996).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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B. orellana has been principally distributed through intentional introduction for use as a source of annatto dye, an important food colorant. It produces numerous viable seeds. A risk assessment suggests that the seeds are dispersed by birds, can survive passage through the gut, and produce a persistant seed bank (PIER, 2015).

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive

Environmental Impact

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No information on environmental impacts of this species could be found in the literature.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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B. orellana is primarily important for the reddish-orange dye obtained from the fleshy testa of the seeds and commercially known as annatto. It includes a carotenoid pigment known as bixin, which is used for colouring food, especially rice, margarine, butter, cheese, soups, etc., and for colouring oils, varnishes and cosmetics. Jansen (2005) reported that annual world production of dried annatto seed was estimated at about 10,000 t, of which 7000 t enters international trade, with the main markets being the USA, Europe and Japan. Some 70% of the product is used in the importing countries to colour cheese (Jansen, 2005).

Indigenous peoples in the tropical Americas used dye from the plant to paint their faces and bodies both for adornment and to provide protection from insects and the sun (Morton, 1960). The plant is also used medicinally. Despite the different culture and traditions among the countries in South and Central America, several of the popular uses of B. orellana are the same, for example, antipyretic, aphrodisiac, antidiarrheal, antidiabetic, and insect repellent (Vilar et al., 2014). Oil from B. orellana can promote healing of skin wounds (Capella et al., 2016), and the plant is used in South America to treat malaria (Zhai et al., 2014).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Ritual uses

Human food and beverage

  • Food additive
  • Seeds

Materials

  • Cosmetics
  • Dye/tanning
  • Dyestuffs
  • Gum/resin
  • Miscellaneous materials

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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B. orellana is highly variable, especially regarding the form, size, and indumentum of the capsules. Bixa urucurana is a similar species, but the leaves are somewhat larger (Condit et al., 2011), and B. urucurana has smaller, indehiscent fruits with less pigment (Moreira et al., 2015).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Information on spread and impact of this species in the wild is required. No information on control methods was found.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Anon, 1986. Medicinal herb index in Indonesia. PT Eisai Indonesia. 428 pp

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Backer CA, Brink RC-Bakhuizen-Van-Den, Jr, 1963. Flora of Java (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 1 : Gymnospermae, families 1-7; Angiospermae, families 8-110. Vol. II: Angiospermae, families 111-190. Vol. III: Angiospermae, families 191-238; addenda et corrigenda; general index to volumes I-III. N. V. P. Noordhoff, Groningen, Netherlands. 1963-1968 pp. xxiii + 648; 72 + 641; 761

Bayot AJ, 1986. Annato. Plant Industry Production Guide. Republic of the Philippines Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Manila, Philippines: Bureau of Plant Industry

Brown WH, 1957. Useful plant of the Philippines. Manila, Philippines: Bureau of Printing

Bruggeman L, 1957. Tropical Plants and Their Cultivation. London, UK: Thames & Hudson

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Capella, S. O., Tillmann, M. T., Félix, A. O. C., Fontoura, E. G., Fernandes, C. G., Freitag, R. A., Santos, M. A. Z., Félix, S. R., Nobre, M. O., 2016. Therapeutic potential of Bixa orellana L. in skin wounds: a study in the rat model of open wound healing. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 68(1), 104-112. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-09352016000100104&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=pt doi: 10.1590/1678-4162

Capretti, C., 1961. Oidium bixae, the powdery mildew of Bixa orellana in Venezuela. Rivista di Agricoltura Subtropicale e Tropicale, 55, 13-19.

Carlowitz PGvon, 1991. Multipurpose trees and shrubs: sources of seeds and inoculants. Multipurpose trees and shrubs: sources of seeds and inoculants., vii + 328 pp.; 46 ref

Combre J, Budowski G, 1979. Classification of Agroforestry Techniques Workshop Agro-forestry System in Latin Ameica. Turrialba, Costa Rica: United Nations University and Centro Agrinomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza

Condit R, Perez R, Daguerre N, 2011. Trees of Panama and Costa Rica. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press

Coto TD, Saunders JL, 1993. Temporal distribution of Milghitea melanoleuca Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a miner of capsules of Bixa orellana L., during the production period. (Distribución temporal de Milghitea melanoleuca Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) barrenador de la capsula del achiote (Bixa orellana L.) durante el período de producción.) Manejo Integrado de Plagas, No. 26:23-27

Encyclopedia of Life, 2016. Encyclopedia of Life. http://www.eol.org

Flora do Brasil, 2016. Brazilian Flora 2020 in construction. http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/reflora/listaBrasil/ConsultaPublicaUC/ConsultaPublicaUC.do#CondicaoTaxonCP

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Guzman E de, Umali RM, Sotalbo ED, 1986. Guide to Philippine flora and fauna. Natural Resources Management Center, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippine. Manila, Philippines: JMC Press Inc

Hagiwara, A., Imai, N., Ichihara, T., Sano, M., Tamano, S., Aoki, H., Yasuhara, K., Koda, T., Nakamura, M., Shirai, T., 2003. A thirteen-week oral toxicity study of annatto extract (norbixin), a natural food color extracted from the seed coat of annatto (Bixa orellana L.), in Sprague-Dawley rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 41(8), 1157-1164. doi: 10.1016/S0278-6915(03)00104-2

Hassler M, 2016. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. http://www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2016/

Hensleigh TE, Holaway BK, (eds. ), 1988. Agroforestry species for the Philippines. Manila, Philippines: US Peace Corps

Henty EE, 1981. Handbooks of the flora of Papua New Guinea, vol 2. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 276 pp

Honychurch PN, 1986. Caribbean wild plants and their uses: an illustrated guide to some medicinal and wild ornamental plants of the West Indies. London, UK: Macmillan Publishers, 175 pp

Jansen PCM, 2005. Bixa orellana L. In: PROTA 3: Dyes and tannins [ed. by Jansen, P. C. M. \Cardon, D.]. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA

Leal, F., Clavijo, C. M. de, 2011. Annatto: botany and horticulture. Horticultural Reviews, 39, 389-419. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/advanced/search/results

Lemmens RHMJ, Wulijarni-Soetjipto N (Editors), 1991. Plant resources of South-East Asia. No. 3. Dye and tannin-producing plants. pp.195

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015. Tropicos database. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Moreira, P. A., Lins, J., Dequigiovanni, G., Veasey, E. A., Clement, C. R., 2015. The domestication of annatto (Bixa orellana) from Bixa urucurana in Amazonia. Economic Botany, 69(2), 127-135. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12231-015-9304-0 doi: 10.1007/s12231-015-9304-0

Morton JF, 1960. Can annatto (Bixa orellana L.), an old source of food color, meet new needs for safe dye. Florida State Horticultural Society, 73:301-309

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Peregrine WTH, 1991. Annattoa possible trap crop to assist control of the mosquito bug (Helopeltis schoutedeni Reut.) in tea and other crops. Tropical Pest Management, 37(4):429-430

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Silva SNS, Amaral CLF, Rebouc TNH, 2010. Adoption of conservation practices on farm and selection of varieties by producers of annatto in the city of Vitoria da Conquista-BA. Revista Brasileira de Agroecologica, 5:106-113

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Zhai, B., Clark, J., Ling, T. T., Connelly, M., Medina-Bolivar, F., Rivas, F., 2014. Antimalarial evaluation of the chemical constituents of hairy root culture of Bixa orellana L. Molecules, 19(1), 756-766. http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/1/756 doi: 10.3390/molecules19010756

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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09/06/2016 Updated by:

Eduardo Ventosa, Puerto Rico Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources, Puerto Rico

 

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