Bixa Orellana Research Paper

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Bixa Orellana is one of only few species of plants belonging to the family Bixaceae. Plants within the Bixaceae family typically contain two cotelydons and possess both male and female reproductive organs. B. Orellana is a tropical shrub that is native to the Americas and it is believed the origin of its name is derived from Francisco Orellana, who is credited with discovering the plant while exploring the Amazon rainforest. This plant can reach heights between eight to twelve feet and produce white or pink flowers. B. Orellana also produces capsule shaped red or brown fruits covered in spines which contribute to its distinctive physical appearance. The inside of these capsules contain numerous oval shaped red seeds that can be, on average, slightly larger than a dime. There can be an abundant amount, as many as fifty to eighty, of these seeds present in one capsule. The seeds are covered by waxy like red-brown aril (Donkin, R. A. 1974). B. Orellana can be found in a wide range of landscapes throughout Central and South America. It can grow on lands present at sea level and up to altitudes of approximately 3000ft. It is primarily found on the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula around the area of Mazatlan and southward into the Andes region of South America. From the Andes region it spreads south and eastward, covering the southernmost part of South America. Within these landscapes, B. Orellana is often times found in close proximity to bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers (Donkin, R. A. 1974). With the arrival of the Spanish to South America, B. Orellana saw world-wide dispersion. When the Spanish explorers saw how useful it was, thousands of pounds of B. Orellana were shipped to other various countries and continents.... ... middle of paper ... ...mary example of a plant that has been used throughout history for multiple purposes. It was initially a plant that was only of importance to the Native peoples of the Americas. What was once considered a plant that was only useful in tribal folklore and ritualistic practices, is now being considered very valuable in the modern world. Current inquiries and research into natural alternatives to the many chemicals utilized in the modern food and drug industries is shining a light on the effectiveness and the many potential uses of B. Orellana. Its uses have expanded from its original intended purposes to an array of purposes because of its valuable properties. Although at this current point, more research is needed on B. Orellana to enhance its effectiveness and successfully implement it into more foods and medicines, the possibilities this plant presents are promising.

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