(Psychotria elata). Bracts, flowers, fruits.
Hookerís lips - Psychotria elata
Psychotria is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. It contains around 1,850 species and is therefore one of the largest genera of flowering plants. The genus has a pantropical distribution and members of the genus are small understorey trees in tropical forests. Some species are endangered or facing extinction due to deforestation, especially species of central Africa and the
Pacific. Many species,produce the psychedelic chemical dimethyltryptamine.
Psychotria elata is an understory shrub of the genus
Psychotria. Psychotria elata is part of the tropical rainforest understory flora of the
Americas. It is found throughout Central America
like Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador from
low to mid-elevation. It grows where the soil is rich and humic from leaf litter ó moist and sheltered from the most powerful sun rays by upper story trees.
Psychotria elata grows as a shrub or small tree. The plant has deeply veined simple leaves of matte green. The flower is actually a pair of modified leaves that pout around the tiny star-like white to cream flowers. These become small bluish-black berries. The bracts are only kissable for a short while, before they spread open to reveal the plantís flowers.
the Psychotria Elatra plant has apparently evolved into its current shape to attract pollinators including hummingbirds and butterflies and its small blue fruits are dispersed by birds.
It is a unique plant most recognized for
this pair of bright red lip-shaped bracts surrounding small, white, tubular
flowers. This weird plant might look like the work of a photo editing software, but
actually those kissable lips are all natural.
Unfortunately, the plant is severely threatened due to habitat destruction and development. It is nearly impossible to get the plant or seeds here in the States. It is a common gift plant in Central America, however, usually for Valentineís Day.
The plant can be difficult to grow and has very special cultivation
Additional Psychotria elata plant info tells us that the plant is also called hookerís lips
and hot lips for the shape of its bright red bracts that resemble two luscious lips
However hot lips is a little more family friendly.
The presence of alkaloids in P. elata has led to its common use as a medicinal plant within indigenous populations of Central
America. Interestingly, this plant contains the chemical dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic. It is also used as traditional medicine among the Amazon people to treat aches and arthritis, infertility and impotency.