Category archives: Natural Dye Plants

Information on natural dye plants from Europe and abroad.

Red Sorghum as a dye

Written by [email protected] on March 24, 2007 in Natural Dye Plants

Sorghum was one of the dye plants I grew last year. It grew very well on our dry southern slope. One night the wild boar came to invest it and pulled some down.

They neither ate it or returned, no doubt knowing at the first sniff that it is poisonous. Unfortunately, this year I didn't have time to work with this fascinating plant, but I have kept some seed and plan to sew it this year as a combined dye crop, shade and wind break. It is very drought resistant, its leaves contract around the stem conserving moisture as ...

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Collecting walnuts husks for natural dyeing

Written by [email protected] on March 24, 2007 in Natural Dye Plants

In our coffee breaks, Fleur, our border colley and I go walnut-hunting in the garden and surrounding meadows. This is the time of year that the slowly ripening nuts fall one by one from the already yellowing trees. Leaving the green husked youngsters on the trees we collect the black wizened ones from the dappled shade beneath. The walnuts in the photo are fully ripe and ready to harvest for dyeing purposes.

Once collected I leave them to dry and then wearing rubber gloves unless I want to sport very tanned hands for a week or two, I separate the ...

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A look at Sunflowers and their Natural Dye properties

Written by [email protected] on March 24, 2007 in Natural Dye Plants

Sunflowers have been used for centuries, if not millennium by the Hopi Indians to dye a range of reds, purples and blues. This summer has been especially good for growing sunflowers anywhere in Europe.

These de-flowered seed heads below are a variety called Van Gogh. As you can see the wonderful whirl of seeds are purple when young, turning to purply black as they mature. Although all the seeds I sowed looked the same, some plants have grown with several flower heads to each plant these having the purple natural dye producing seeds shown below.

Van Gogh sunflowers

However some are giant one ...

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Woad/Pastel, grown for dyeing in the Ariège, France

Written by [email protected] on March 24, 2007 in Natural Dye Plants

This is a single woad plant (pastel in french) flowering in my garden here in the Ariège. Strange is it not that a plant that dyes so blue should have such yellow flowers? I have removed nearly all the other plants as I do not know how invasive it is, but this one I will let go to seed, to sow in August for plants for next year.

Near Pamiers on the road to Pujols there was a field of woad/pastel that has just been harvested as the seeds were ripening. A whole field of purple teardrops which are ...

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