Genipa americana

Orden: Order: Rubiales

Familia: Family: Rubiaceae

Género: Genus: Genipa

Especie: Species: Americana

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chipara, elig, genipapo, guayatil colorado, higinio, jagua, uito.

Parte de la planta que se usa para el pigmento: Part of the plant used for pigment: Fruit

Color: Grayish-indigo

Huito pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm.

Herbarium. Dried Huito leaves, sewn on rice paper.
77 x 57 cm. 2013.

Monotype on rice paper made from the dried Huito leaves.
100 x 65 cm. 2013.



Huito. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Tree with wide crown, which may grow up to twenty meters in height. Its cylindrical, upright trunk has an irregular-shaped bark, elliptical leaves, clustered at the end of the branches. Its individual white and yellow flowers are bundled next to the leaves. Its grayish-brown fruit is round and fleshy, and also gathers at the end of the branch.

Huito. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, from Mexico to Argentina, as well as in the West Indies. It can be found in different environments, mostly in mountain slopes and wet and rainy forests in warm weather. Pollination ordinarily occurs by bees, and the plants’ fruits are spread by birds and mammals.

Preparation of the pigment with the huito seeds. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.



The fruit is used to produce beverages and desserts. Diverse indigenous communities have used it to produce ink for tattooing, as insect repellent, and to dye textiles, hammocks and paint utensils. The plant is used to produce a fiber to make clothes, and timber used to build cabinets and other minor constructions. It is also useful as medicine for its antibiotic, diuretic and laxative properties.



Huito provides a grayish-indigo, extracted by grating its fruit. The color obtained from the huito properly adheres to cotton and paper, but this is not the case with fique (natural fiber). The pigment dissolves in water or alcohol; the latter allowing the creation of a more intense indigo.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing