• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Costa Rica’s ‘hooker’s lips’ faces kiss of extinction — Here’s why

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 3, 2024

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Psychotria elata or hooker lips plant is given as sign of affection to loved ones in Central America

A Psychotria elata plant. — X/@worldfloweringplants
A Psychotria elata plant. — X/@worldfloweringplants

Psychotria elata is a stunning botanical wonder of the tropical flora known as the “hot lips plant” or “hooker’s lips plant,” that is indigenous to the rainforests of Costa Rica, Ecuador, and many other Central and South American nations.

What makes this plant special are its leaves, which resemble bracts. These bracts have two lips that mimic human lips. This eye-catching characteristic attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies.

The bracts’ vibrant colour and juicy texture give them the appearance of ripe fruit. This attracts pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies, to them. As they explore, maybe they’ll transfer pollen from bloom to bloom. Though they are star-shaped and tiny, the real blooms do not draw as much attention as the striking bracts.

More notable than the plant’s blossom, according to the CGTN, are the bracts, which are white and fragrant and usually emerge from the core of the “red hot” bracts between December and March.

The plant is given as a sign of affection to loved ones in Central America, especially on Valentine’s Day. Its bark and leaves are also used by the locals to treat a range of ailments, including skin irritation.

Unfortunately, the steady death of the plant can be attributed to both climate change and deforestation. Therefore, it is essential that additional care and protection be provided in order to maintain the life of this endangered species and prevent us from having to say goodbye to it.

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