Updated December 29th, 2023 at 21:48 IST

Endangered beauty: Hot lips plant faces extinction amid deforestation and climate change threats

Hot Lips Plant, native to rainforests, captivates with lip-like bracts attracting pollinators. Threatened by deforestation, climate change; needs protection.

Reported by: Garvit Parashar
Hot Lips Plant Faces Extinction Amid Deforestation | Image:Unsplash
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The Hot Lips Plant or Hooker's Lips plant, also known as Psychotria elata, is a unique and fascinating plant found in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Ecuador, and other parts of Central and South America. What makes it extraordinary are its special leaves called bracts, which resemble shiny, red, fleshy lips similar to human lips. These lips play a crucial role in attracting pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.

The bright color and juicy appearance of the bracts make them look like ripe fruit, enticing pollinators to come and explore. As they do, they help in carrying pollen between different blooms. Despite the small and star-shaped real flowers, it's the attention-grabbing bracts that steal the show.

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The plant's flowers, though white and fragrant, aren't as remarkable as its bracts. They usually emerge from the center of the "red hot" bracts between December and March. In Central America, people often gift this plant to their loved ones, especially on Valentine's Day, as a symbol of affection. Additionally, locals use its bark and leaves to treat various diseases, including skin irritation.

Unfortunately, the Hot Lips Plant is gradually disappearing due to deforestation and climate change. To ensure the survival of this rare species, it's crucial to provide special care and protection, preventing us from saying goodbye to this extraordinary plant.

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Published December 29th, 2023 at 21:48 IST