Show your true colors!

Which is your favourite? Red, Blue or yellow? Nature is colorful, a sea of colors, and it renders itself to us as colouring for food, fabric, leather or even skin and hair. The orange hue from achiote (Bixa orellana) seed dyes foods such butter, margarine, pastries and tortillas. Yet this plant can do more; the indigenous South Americans value their seed coats as anthelmintics and use the leaves and roots against headaches.

Indigo is extracted from the leaves of Indigofera tinctoria. The beautiful, deep blue hue is acquired through oxidation when exposed to air. “Real” blue jeans fade with washing, because the natural indigo rinses out. Synthetic indigo doesn’t lose its colour.

You will find color plants like woad (Isatis tinctoria) or madder (Rubia tinctorium) during the summer months in the teaching and learning garden.