Willow, Maple, Oak, Linden and Chicory

Today, I’m looking up for dye material from trees.  More leaves.  This time from Maple, Saw Tooth Oak and Willow.  And, for good measure, clematis and chicory, too.  I was invited to dinner and while enjoying a wonderful meal alfresco, I noticed Millie’s Oak and asked if I could trim a branch.  She said, “great…it’s getting too close to that neighbor and how about trying the clematis.”  Now, that’s a good friend–invites me to dinner and lets me harvest some dye material!!

Millie’s Saw Tooth Oak and clematis; also Maple and Willow

The Oak was a great surprise.  I was expecting backyard yellow and instead the color is a dark tan…like cinnamon, with a touch of RED!!  (OKOK, to say red is stretching it a bit.)  And, speaking of stretching it…to harvest leaves from most oak trees would require a lot of stretching.  But, I’ll be out to harvest acorns…watch out squirrels!!  The Maple and clematis were very timid but the willow is a good find.

Linden leaves and Chicory flowers

Another day and another pair of swatches that are not-so-interesting-but-to-be-included for the record. Linden–leaves from the tree and Chicory–flowers from the plant.  Linden flowers can be used for tea and bees like them for honey.  Chicory roots can be used for coffee, or coffee–extender.  I’ll plan on leaving these materials for tea and coffee!

I’m searching for colors somewhat randomly…trying out flowers, shrubs and trees in my neighborhood.  Looking for the science behind this, I found an article written by Padma S Vankar that discusses the chemistry concepts that Michel Garcia mentioned.  In the plant world, there are some basic chemical structures (including anthraquinones and flavones) that have dye properties.  Reds are mostly anthraquinones.  Yellows are mostly flavones.


3 thoughts on “Willow, Maple, Oak, Linden and Chicory

  1. I would have expected a reddy-brown from the willow as that is what I typically get when soaking the branches for basketry. And the oak is spot on. The bark works, too. Haven’t tried the acorns, yet.

      • Honeysuckle vine gives a lovely reddish brown – actually, it is the bark from the vine. Non-basketry soaking: Osage orange is lovely – yellows to oranges! American Smoketree is yellow. And the leaves and berries from the wild black cherry are super for eco printing – haven’t done just a concoction, but the water from eco dyeing makes a lovely brown.

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