Where the Lipstick Grows on Trees

The first thing that most Maui visitors discover upon landing is that they’ve packed too much.  Maybe you brought your fancy pants for a nice dinner out, your favorite eyeshadow palette, a pair of your best goggles and hair care products worthy of Pele herself, but then you discover just moments into your journey that bringing more than your reusable shopping bag containing the three s’s: sandals (a sturdy one if you’re coming with us), sunscreen and swimsuits, is overkill.

Fruit of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana) with seeds.

If you’re making your packing list (and checking it twice), know this: The shopping on Maui is plentiful, meaning that sometimes it’s easier–and cheaper, depending on the airline you booked–to buy what you need on the island.    And more good news: The lipstick grows on trees–literally.  Superguide Akiko came back yesterday from a jungle hike with a little something for the ladies at Hike Maui World HQ. (And maybe a few of the men? After all, it is almost 2013.)

It was an achiote cutting, or put more descriptively, the fruit and seeds from”lipstick tree.”  When these fuzzy and heart-shaped plants  mature, they open like bird beaks to reveal strange red pebbles.  Take one of these little waxy seeds to your lips, cheeks–wherever you’d like some color–and you’re ready to take on the wild in style!  It’s the magic of the rainforest there at your fingertips (which will also be red if you’re not careful).

Now if only there were a plant that made shampoo with a beautiful, light fragrance.  Wait, actually, there is.  To be continued…



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