Home LIFE Psychotria Elata – Latin America’s Kissable Flower

Psychotria Elata – Latin America’s Kissable Flower

These gorgeous pair of red, luscious lips belong to a plant known as Psychotria elata, a tropical tree found in the rain forests of Central and South American countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador. Affectionately, Psychotria elata is called Hooker’s Lips or the Hot Lips Plants.

Photo: Flickr

The plant has apparently evolved into its current shape to attract pollinators including hummingbirds and butterflies. According to Oddity Central, the bracts are only kissable for a short while, before they spread open to reveal the plant’s flowers.

 Photo: Tumblr

Psychotria elata is an understory shrub of the Rubiaceae family found throughout Central America from low to mid-elevation. It is most recognized for its pair of bright red lip-shaped bracts surrounding small, white, tubular flowers.


This heterostylus plant is hummingbird-pollinated, though it is visited by other insects such as butterflies, and its small blue fruits are dispersed by birds.

Little is known about herbivory for the species. The presence of alkaloids in P. elata has led to its common use as a medicinal plant within indigenous populations of Central America.