Indigo (Nil): The botanical name is “Indigo Tinctoria’. Originally the plant was found in India from where it had been taken to different parts of the world. Mankind has known the Indigo bush for a long time. It was cultivated to produce blue and green colours. In Iran it was cultivated in Khuzestan and in the Southern Regions. With the development of artificial Indigo, the cultivation of Indigo plant has been reduced. There are the several varieties of indigo plant but these all contain one or two colour substances. When the
leaves of this plant are crushed, a green substance oozes out and as soon as it gets in contact with air, the colours transferred to blue. Indigo is one of the best natural dyes. It resists washing as well as rubbing and the colour stays solid and fast.
Dye, Weed (Esparak): Botanical name “Reseda Luteola’. It is a biennal plant. It produces yellow colour. It grows wild and in abundance in Iran. Due to continuous exposure to light the dye from this plant gives fast yellow colour for many years. This dye has been extensively used in Iran. Despite easy availability of chemical dyes, Reseda has not lost its place with the dyers in Iran and continues to be extensively used.
The Esparak plant is also cultivated. All parts of the plant contain colouring substances but the root and upper sections of the bush especially the flower give the best colour.
Turmeric (Zardchubeh): Botanical name “Curcuma Longa”. From the rootstalk, ordinary turmeric is obtained. Is it mostly used in cooking and grows in plenty in Iran. Turmeric, when used with different mordants in the dyeing process produces several varieties of brown, dark, grey, greenish yellow and orange.
Plants containing Tannin: Pomegranate (Anar) Botanical name “Punica Granatum’ was first grown in Iran and is today found in various parts of the world. The skin of its fruit is used for dyeing and grey and dark colours are obtained, it is used more than other plants containing tannin. The quantity of Tannin substance in Pomegranate is up to 40%.
Oak-Tree (Balut): The scientific name “Quercus Tinctoria”. From the trunk, branches, bark of this tree are extracted large quantities of tannin substance which are used for medicinal, tannery and dyeing purposes. The tannin substances contained in the bark of the Oak-tree with different mordants produce yellow-orange and brown colours.
Walnut (Gherdu): Botanical name “junglans Regia”. Walnut trees are found in abundance in areas of Iran having a moderate climate. The nutshell of this plant contains tannin 35-40%. With use of different mordants the tannin in the shell produces brown and dark colours.
Mirabalan (Halileh): Botanical name ‘Prunus Cerasifera Myrabolana” resembles a plum and is dried before it matures. It has around 45% of tannin. Apart from dyeing, it is also used for medicinal purposes. Two varieties of this plant are in existence. “Yellow Myrabolan”, from which yellow colours is obtained and black Myrabolan, from which black and green colours are obtained by use of different mordants.
Other colour plants: The leaves of mulberry, vine, henna and plane trees are commonly used for the development of natural dyes, white mulberry gives yellow; black mulberry and its fruit, violet; red and grayish colours are obtained with use of different mordents. The leaves of the vine, give olive green colour when brought in contact with galvanised iron and almost orange when treated with alkaline salts. Light and dark green colours are produced from plane tree leaves. Wool when boiled with corn straw gives light beige; if boiled with onion skin, it becomes pink; and with henna leaves, it gives a jasper green colour.
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