April 17, 2016
2470 GUINEA - Achiote (Bixa orellana)
Achiote (Bixa orellana) is a shrub originating from the tropical region of the Americas, but it has spread to many parts of the world. It is grown easily and quickly in frost-free regions, from sub-tropical to tropical climates, and sheltered from cool winds. It prefers year-round moisture, good drainage, and moderately fertile soil in full sun or partial shade. It is a tall shrub to small evergreen tree 6-10m high. It bears clusters of 5cm bright white to pink flowers, resembling single wild roses, appearing at the tips of the branches.
The fruits are in clusters: spiky looking red-brown seed pods covered in soft spines. Each pod contains many seeds covered with a thin waxy blood-red aril. When fully mature, the pod dries, hardens, and splits open, exposing the seeds. Before synthetic dyes revolutionized industry, the tree was planted commercially for the pigment, which was used to color cheese, margarine, chocolate, fabric and paints. The tree is also known as the source of annatto, a natural orange-red condiment obtained from the waxy arils that cover its seeds.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, about which I wrote here.
Bixa orellana - Wikipedia
Sent from Conakry (Conakry / Guinea), on 07.01.2016