What Makes the Colors in Natural Dyes? Part IV - Reds

The Reds in natural dyeing are many and varied from oranges to reds to russets and are sourced both in plants and scale insects. The color of love, strength, passion, vitality, courage and the desire for this color fueled wars and conquest (A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield is an excellent read!). Most of the red dye colorants are in the Quinone and Anthraquinone biochemical groups.

  • The Quinone Dyes (Carthamin, Alkannin & Naphthoquinone) are the colorants of Safflower, Alkanet, Black Walnut, Henna, Rhubarb & Docks.
  • The Anthraquinone Dyes (Alizarin, Kermesic Acid Laccainic Acid & Carminic Acid) are the colorants of Buckthorn, Madder, Woodruff, Lady's Bedstraw and the scale insects (Cochineal & Lac)


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