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Hot Lips Overview
Palicourea elata is a shrub in the Rubiaceae family. This species is very distinctive, particularly when flowering. It forms conspicuous modified leaf structures around the flowers, these are known as bracts. They are bright red and resemble a pair of human lips, hence the common names Hot Lips and Hooker's Lips. This is to attract specialised pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. The flowers are scented and white in colour, leading onto small blue-black berry fruits. This species comes from understory rainforest environments from Mexico to South America and it can grow to 3m in height, provided the correct conditions.