Also called annatto, lipstick tree has a rounded to globular crown of heart-shaped, bright green leaves on long petioles (leaf stalks). Because of its shape and ability to hold foliage down to the ground, it can be used as a large shrub, or limbed up into a handsome small tree. The plant blooms with large panicles at the
branch tips of pale pink flowers with long stamens that resemble wild roses or extremely large cherry blossoms. These turn into bright red seed capsules that split apart to expose red seeds within. The lovely flowers bloom from late summer into fall, and the seed capsules put on their display from late fall into winter and early spring, giving the plant a long season of color.
The common name comes from the fact that the seeds are used as dye for lipstick, among other products.
Lipstick tree can be planted in either full sun or partial shade. It does well in fertile, humus-rich loam that is well-draining. Plants respond well to South Florida's wet summers and dry winters; some supplemental irrigation may be necessary in extremely dry weather.
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