Psychotria elata is part of the tropical rainforest understory flora of the Americas. It is a unique plant with uninteresting flowers but fabulous lip-like bracts. Can be difficult to grow due to special cultivation conditions.
Hot lips grows as a shrub or small tree. The plant has deeply veined simple leaves of matte green. The flower is actually a pair of modified leaves that pout around the tiny star-like white to cream flowers. These become small bluish-black berries. The plant is very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Unfortunately, the plant is severely threatened due to habitat destruction and development. It is nearly impossible to get the plant or seeds here in the States. It is a common gift plant in Central America, however, usually for Valentine’s Day.