About the Dye Plants

Spearmint

The Mint family – pictured above is an example of Spearmint.  Combinations of the leaves and stems of spearmint, chocolate mint, lemon balm, and other members of this family produce shades of grey in an iron pot.

 

Eastern Hemlock2

Eastern Hemlock – the bark from fallen trees produces shades of tan to rusty red in copper, brass, and iron pots. 

Several years ago, as the trees began falling near our home, I began collecting the bark in an attempt to recycle and preserve a part of this species by extracting the colors produced within the bark.

This species is suffering in the Southern Appalachian mountains due to theEastern Hemlock adelgid infestation of the hemlock woolly adelgid; an exotic and invasive insect.  Its’ presence of the insect can be identified by the white, cotton-like spots on the underside of the leaves.

The loss of the Eastern Hemlock has been compared by many to the near extinction of the American Chestnut in the early 20th century.  

 

 Indigo

Indigo was imported to colonial America from Europe. Beginning in 1739, Eliza Lucas Pinckney began cultivating the indigo plant in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Initially, her plants were grown from seed sent to her by her father from the West Indies. Due to her efforts, indigo became a commercial success during the mid 18th century. Indigofera caroliniana is native to North America, but Indigofera tinctoria and Indigofera suffruticosa is also used to produce dye. The deepest blues are attained by using pottery or enamel vessels.

 

Osage Orange

 

Osage Orange – ground wood produces nice shades of deep gold in a copper pot; more muted tones in iron.

 

Black Walnut

 

Black Walnut – nuts crushed, in an iron pot, produce light to dark browns in an iron pot.

 

 

 

 

Marigolds are popular annual plants grown in home gardens for color, in addition to a wide variety of uses.  Planted in the vegetable garden, marigolds are known for repelling insects.  The flowers produce a nice yellow to rusty gold dye in a brass pot.

 T. patula 2

Check back often – more plants will be added soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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