The Abandoned Atsuete / Annatto Tree !

I am going regularly to my uncles farm. I am getting some guyabano leaves for tea preparation. We are drinking guyabano leaf tea instead of coffee or any other hot drinks. Guyabano fruits, leaves and roots are claimed to be healthy and a cure for various cancer types. Read about guyabano here.

A new fence was installed recently and the gate was built about half kilometer away. Oh, it is so far!  Anyway doing extra walk is not bad. I got  few leaves and started walking back.

On my way home, I noticed an atsuete tree nearby. It has a lot of fruits. The plant owner might not interested cause he let the fruit dried. Asuete fruit should be harvested when fully matured, take out the seeds and dry in oven or under the sun.

I was thinking the owner is not interested and has abandoned the tree. I won’t be blamed for getting a single fruit bunch.

atsuete annatto tagalog

The fruit is covered with hundreds of thorn-like structures. I said thorn-like because they look like thorn but they are harmless. Anyone can hold it safely. Pressing the fruit it on both ends  will reveal the triangular seeds within two paper like sheets.

The atsuete seed is the source of the non popular annatto colorant. I still remember  mother was using it to color some of her favorite recipes.

Why did the farmer abandon his atsuete tree? Is it is not a valuable commodity? Who are still using annotto as of date? Maybe most of us have switched to petroleum based dyes!



  • Ideal for adobo recipes.

  • i have known this atsuete tree since childhood. Its leaves when applied with coconut oil and preheated is a good cure for sprain or pilay, just like doing and using for the same purpose the tuba-tuba leaves.
    actually i was hoping to find medicinal uses for its leaves, bark or roots.
    during our childhood we use the tiny orange-colored seeds to color our lips…..

  • Hey! I still use it to make my African beef stews to make the soup a bit appetizing.

    • I am glad to hear that!

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