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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Bixaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Malvales

There are no indigenous representatives of this family in southern Africa but there are two cultivated species in this region, namely Bixa orellana (Annatto tree or Lipstick tree) and Cochlospermum vitifolium.

Genera cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002). These two genera are each only represented by a single species in southern Africa, so the species is listed.

Bixa orellana (Annatto tree, Lipstick tree, Achiote)

Native to tropical America. Produces seeds that contain an orange-red dye called annatto, which is used for colouring foods such as cheese, butter, smoked fish and salad oils. Trees are cultivated in tropical regions round the world. See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Cochlospermum vitifolium

Native from Mexico to Bolivia.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.