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This erect shrub with large, glossy green, prominently veined leaves that can become a small tree several feet tall. It is grown as a garden ornamental less for its pale pink flowers, which last only one day, than for its highly decorative two-valved seed pods, covered with soft, deep red hairs. The seeds inside are surrounded by orange-red arils, which yield a dye called annato that can be used in small quantities to color lipstick and foods like cheese and margarine; the dried seed pods are also effective in flower arrangements. When used as a hedge or screen, Bixa should be pruned often to encourage bush growth at the bottom of the trunk.
The flowers are tubular, pink and aromatic and produced in terminal inflorescences. Fingerroot is cultivated as an ornamental. The rhizomes are commonly used as vegetables in main dishes or eaten raw when young.
Calendula officinalis is an aromatic annual plant, widely cultivated for its showy, yellow or orange, rayed flower heads used in medicine, coloring, and flavoring of food. There are numerous cultivars of calendula with double flowers in colors ranging from cream to deep orange-red.
It is used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain, and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Sweetshrub has many common names, all alluding to the aromatic properties of its leaves, bark, twigs and roots. Best of all is the wonderfully fruity scent produced by the unusual flowers. Sweetshrub is easy to grow in average soil, is easy to care for and is essentially pest-free. Undemanding shrubs, they flower best in a sunny but sheltered position in fertile , humus-rich, moist soil. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9. Propagate by seeds, layers, and divisions. This shrub produces suckers in profusion. These can be easily dug and planted in a new location - at just about any time of the year provided the transplants are kept moist.
Flowers appear at the beginning of the rainy season. Their fragrance escapes from hundreds of tiny blossoms to form a cloud that hovers over the area.