Move over Mick Jagger and Angelina Jolie, there’s a new pair of lips in town. And they’re kissable! Whether you call them hooker’s lips or hot lips or by their scientific name, Psychotria Elata, one thing is indisputable: These lips are unique–and stunning!
Psychotria Elata is from the Psychotria genus in the family Rubicae, which contains about 1900 different species. Often mistaken for a flower, this luscious-looking specimen grows as part of a small tropical shrub or tree. The “lips” are actually modified leaves or bracts that serve as a cover for the flowers that will soon emerge.
Native to the rainforests of South and Central America, the hot lips plant is found in countries like Columbia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama. The plant grows in soil that is rich and humid from leaf litter where it is sheltered from the sun’s strongest rays by upper-story trees.
The bright crimson color and unusual shape act as a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinating insects. Hiding beneath the seductive lips are the tiny white star-shaped flowers that will turn into small blueish-black oval berries. The pleasant light fragrance exuded by the flowers has been compared to black currents.
Much to the delight of adventurous gardeners, the plant can be cultivated in temperate climates by mimicking its native environment in heated greenhouses or solariums.
The bark and leaves of Psychotria Elata were once commonly used as a medicinal plant (to treat coughs, earaches and skin rashes) within the indigenous populations of Central America. It was also used as a common expression of love for Valentine’s Day. Sadly, because of rampant deforestation, this remarkable plant’s numbers are dwindling
and it is no longer a popular choice.
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But thanks to Psychotria Elata’s beauty and uniqueness, it has developed a lip-loving following on the worldwide Internet. And its striking image has found a place in the no holds barred world of tattoos. So it looks like we won’t be kissing nature’s hot lips goodbye anytime soon.
If you’re looking to plant one on someone special, how about the popular red lips tattoo as a forever gift idea. Or you can do a quick Internet search for Psychotria Elata or hooker’s lips plant. You’ll find seeds from multiple vendors (including Amazon!), watercolors, clip art, and even tee shirts!