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In addition to the examples described in some detail above, several other tropical and sub-tropical tree species were the sources of internationally traded dyestuffs prior to the advent of synthetic dyes at the end of the nineteenth century. Examples include: "fustic" or "dyer's mulberry" (ex. Chlorophora tinctoria) from the Americas and "Indian mulberry" (ex. Morinda citrifolia) of Asia, whose pigments are mixtures of flavones related in structure to fustin and morin.

In the past, a very large number of forest trees and large shrubs were employed for dyeing purposes at the local community level. Today, however, usage in developing countries of these natural forest dyestuffs has reduced substantially owing to competition from synthetics but it has not by any means disappeared. For the most part, the forest tree and shrub dyestuffs currently used are the co-products obtainable from exploiting the natural resource for another primary purpose, which may be fuelwood or tannin production.

Tables 8 and 9 list some of the tree and large shrub species of the Americas and of Africa and Asia which have been employed as local minor dyestuffs in recent years. Interested readers can obtain information on a wider range of forest tree and shrub dyestuff-yielding species by reference to the texts listed in the Supplementary Selected Bibliography given in Appendix 1.

Table 8: Some other trees of the tropical and sub-tropical Americas, used locally as minor sources of dyestuffs

Common name
Plant part used as dyestuff
Colour and usage
Juglandaceae Juglans neotropica Diels Peruvian walnut Peru leaves, fruit, bark  
Julianiaceae Julia adstringens Schecht. cuachalala Mexico bark  
Leguminosae Diphysia carthagenensis Jacq.; D. robinioides Benth. cascabellio; cuachepil Central America heartwood yellow
  Pithecolobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. bixihui; jaguay; campeche marron Central and northern South America bark yellow
  Pterogyne nitens Tul. ibiraro; palo amargo Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil wood purple
  Russellodendron cacalaco (H.& B.) Britt and Rose cacalaco Mexico pods  
  Tara spinosa (Mol.) Britt and Rose divi-divi; guarango Andes, Bolivia pods black (used for textiles and ink)
  Vachellia farnesia (L.) Wight and Arn aroma; cassie; cashia Central and South America bark, fruit black (used for textiles and ink)
Lythraceae Lafoensia glyptocarpa Hoehne ariana; cabeca; pau terra Brazil bark yellow
Moraceae Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gand fustic; dyer's mulberry; bois jaune; borassa; mora Central and northern South America, Caribbean heartwood yellow; formerly exported as "fustic" for dyeing textiles khaki
Papaveraceae Bocconia arborea S. Wats B. frutescens L. palo amarillo;
pau cimmaron;
} Mexico, Central
} America, Central
} and northern
} South America,
} Caribbean
fruit capsules yellow
Rubiaceae Genipa americana L. jagua; genipapeiro Central and northern South America and Caribbean fruits used as a black skin dye by Indians in Brazil
  Sickingia rubra (Mart.) K. Schum arariba vermelha Brazil bark red
Symplocaceae Symplocos spp. amarellinho; caa apoam Brazil bark and leaves yellow


Table 9: Some other trees and large shrubs of tropical and sub-tropical Asia and Africa, used locally as minor sources of dyestuffs

Common name
Plant part used as dyestuff
Colour and usage
Aselepiadaceae Marsdenia tinctoria R. Br. tarum akar (Indonesia); payangit (the Philippines) Himalayas to China; India to Southeast Asia leaves blue dye
Combretaceae Terminalia bellirica (Gaertner) Roxb. beleric myrobalan, bedda nut tree; jaha kebo (Indonesia); jelawai (Malaysia) Himalayas, India to Southeast Asia fruits black dye for matting and ink
  Terminalia catappa L. Indian almond; ketapang (Indonesia and Malaysia); talisai (the Philippines) Southeast Asia bark, leaves black dye
  Terminalia chebula Retz. chebulic myrobalan; black myrobalan; manja (Malaysia); maa-nae (Thailand) Himalayas, India to Southeast Asia fruits yellow to black dyes (but much less important than as a tradeable tannin)
Ebenaceae Diospyros malabrica L. Malabar ebony; kledung (Indonesia); tako Thai (Thailand) India; Southeast Asia fruits black dye
Euphorbiaceae Aprosa frutescens Blume kruen (Thailand); kayu malam (Indonesian); mesekam (Malaysia) Southeast Asia bark black dye
  Exocaria indica (Willd.) Muell. Arg. mock-willow; gurah (Indonesia); buta-buta (Malaysia); krahut (Thailand) India; Southeast Asia leaves green-yellow to black dye
  Macaranga tanarius (L.) Muell. Arg. tutup ancar (Indonesia); kundoh (Malaysia); ka-lo (Thailand); binunga (the Philippines) Southeast Asia, China leaves black dye
  Omalanthus populneus (Geisler) Pax. mouse deer's poplar; tutup (Indonesia); malabinunga (the Philippines) Thailand, Malaysia bark, leaves black dye
  Phyllanthus emblica L. emblic myrobalan, Indian gooseberry; kimalaka (Indonesia); nelli (the Philippines); ma-khaam pom (Thailand) Himalayas, India, Southeast Asia leaves brown dye
  Phylanthus reticulatus Poiret wawulutan (Indonesia); malantinta (the Philippines) India to southern China and Southeast Asia ripe fruits
black for ink
black for cotton
red dye
Guttiferae Garcinia hanburyi

Hook. f.

gamboge tree; rong (Thailand) Southeast Asia sap gold-yellow dye for varnishes, lacquer, etc.

Table 9 (continued):

Common name
Plant part used as dyestuff
Colour and usage
Leguminosae Acacia nilotica (L.) Willd. ex Del babul, Egyptian thorn Africa to India pods black/brown dye; used in inks
  Albizia lebbekoides (D.C.) Benth. taris (Indonesia); siris (Malaysia); haluganit (the Philippines) Southeast Asia bark red dye
  Butea monosperma (Lamk) Taubert dhak, palas (India); palasa (Indonesia) India to Southeast Asia flowers yellow-red dye
  Caesalpina coriaria (Jacq.) Willd.
C. digyna Rottler

) divi-divi
south and Southeast Asia pods blue-black dye; used in inks
  Peltophorum pterocarpum (D.C.) Backer ex. K. Heyne yellow flame, copper pod; soga (Indonesia); non-see (Thailand); siar (the Philippines) Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia bark brown dye, component of Indonesian "soga" dye for batik
  Sophora japonica L. Japanese pagoda tree; sari kuning (Indonesia) China and Korean peninsular flower buds yellow to grey dye; formerly item of regional trade
Menispermaceae Fibraurea tinctoria Lour. peron (Indonesia); sekunyit (Malaysia); kam-phaeng (Thailand) India, Southeast Asia, China stem yellow dye
Moraceae Maclura cochinchinensis (Lour.) Corner kayu kuning (Indonesia); kederang (Malaysia); kokom pusa (the Philippines) Himalayas to Japan; India, Southeast Asia heartwood yellow dye for batik
Oleaceae Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L. night-jasmine; srigading (Indonesia) Himalayas to Southeast Asia flowers saffron-yellow dye
Rhizophoraceae Bruguiera gymnorhiza (L.) Savigny Black mangrove East and south Africa; south and Southeast Asia bark dark brown dye
  Ceriops decandra (Griffith) Ding Hou tengar (Indonesia; Malaysia); malatangal (the Philippines) Southeast Asia bark and sap black dye (used for batiks)
  Ceriops tagal (Perr.)

C.B. Robinson

tengar (Indonesia; Malaysia), tangal (the Philippines) East Africa to India and Southeast Asia bark


red dye

black dye for batik

Rubiaceae Morinda citrifolia L. Indian mulberry; morinde (French); mengkudu besa (Indonesia); tumbong-aso (the Philippines) Southeast Asia, Pacific rootbark red dye; formerly of commercial importance
Symplocaceae Symplocos cochinchinensis Lour.
S. Moore ssp. cochinchinensis
jirak (Indonesia); pokok api-api (Malaysia) Southeast Asia inner bark yellow dye; most frequently mixed with Morinda spp for reds

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