Home >> Plants Profile: Part-B >> Bixa orellana L.

Bixa orellana L.

Synonyms: Orellana americana var. leiocarpa Kuntze

Group: Dicot
Family: Bixaceae - Lipstick-tree family
Growth Habit: Tree
Duration: Perennial

Bangla/Vernacular Name: Belatihaldi, Latkan, Utkana.

Tribal Name: Reyan (Khumi)

English Name: Arnotta plant, Annatto

Description of the Plant:

A small evergreen tree, generally with branches from near the ground. Leaves ovate, cordate, acuminate. Flowers white or pink in terminal panicles. Capsule ovoid or subglobose, clothed with long soft prickles. Seeds covered with red pulps.

Chemical Constituents:

Roots contain triterpenoid and tomentosic acid. Leaves yield essential oil (0.4%), which contains sesquiterpene, bixaghanene (ishwarane). Flavonoids, 7-bisulphates of apigenin, luteolin and hypolaetin have also been isolated from leaves. Seeds contain carotenoid and bixin (70-80% of total pigments) (Asolkar et al., 1992). Fatty oil contains an alcohol, bixol. Five carotenoids have also been isolated from the seed coat. An apocarotenoid, 9'-Z-apo-6'-lycopenoate and the C40 carotenes, phytoene, phytofluene, epsilon-carotene and neurosporene have been isolated from the seed coat (Ghani, 2003).

Bixa orellana L.

Bixa orellana L.

Mode of Uses:

Dye prepared from boiled seeds is used for dying in traditional clothing (Khumi).


Cultivated in Chittagong Chittagong Hill Tracts; sporadically in other districts.

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