Monday, March 2, 2009

hairy like the rambutan

when i was young, i thought the hairy fruit from this shrub was the rambutan. it does look like the hairy rambutan but instead of oval in shape, it is more heart shaped. today, i came across one near the outdoor classroom at sungei buloh wetland reserve.

found out that it is called the bixa orellana. the common name is achiote. some refer to it as the annatto. annatto, a food colouring and flavouring, is actually produced from the reddish pulp which surrounds the seed of the achiote.

it is used in many cheeses (e.g., cheddar, red leicester, and brie), margarine, butter, rice, smoked fish and custard powder.

the achiote has long been used by the american indians to make body paint, especially for the lips, which is the origin of the plant's nickname - lipstick tree.

unlike the rambutan, this fruit is not edible.

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