Can You Change The Color Of A Flower With Dyes Woad – The Mysterious Blue Plant Dye

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Woad – The Mysterious Blue Plant Dye

Woad is known as the source of a blue dye that has been used to dye wool and other fibers in Europe and the Middle East for thousands of years. The pigment is obtained from the dark blue-green, spinach-like leaves of the frame.

The Woad plant

Woad (Isatis tinctoria) is native to the Mediterranean and belongs to the Cruciferae family, better known as brassicas, and is closely related to broccoli, cabbage and turnips. Woad grows easily and is considered a noxious weed in some US states.

Woad is a biennial plant and grows for two years before dying. In the first year, it forms a low-growing group of leaves like spinach. The leaves are harvested for dye production only in the first year because they have little or no color by the time they reach the second year.

In the second year, the leaves become longer and thinner, and the plant looks quite different. It produces tall stems up to five or six feet tall with sprays of small neon yellow flowers. The flowers, which appear in May, are wonderfully fragrant and attract many bees. The black seeds that follow are winged, like little tongues, and the plant dies after seeding.

Waad Blues

Dyeing with cotton wool is very exciting. We dip the wool or fabric into the tub, leave it for a few minutes and then remove it. At first the wool is pale yellow, but with exposure to air the color gradually turns green and then blue. This color change never ceases to amaze viewers.

Woad is also very frugal; For example, 10 grams of wood pigment dyes more than 200 grams of wool a nice medium blue and at least another 100 grams of wool a light blue.

Traditionally, a fermentation vat was used for cotton wool dyeing, often starting with settled urine. Fermentation removes oxygen from the vat, making the wood pigment soluble. Today, chemicals such as spectralit are commonly used to remove oxygen from the tub.

Woad and the old Britons

Native to the Mediterranean, woad originated in Turkey and the Middle East, from where it spread to Europe and has been used as a dye plant since the Neolithic period, 5 to 10,000 years ago.

Many people have heard that when Julius Caesar’s army invaded Britain in 55 BC, the Romans n. no., see Picts painted blue with water. There is much controversy about this claim, as it is unlikely that the Roman army, which was mostly in the south, ever encountered the Picts who lived in the north of Scotland. In addition, waad is difficult to use as a body paint and is not suitable for tattoos.

Woad as an anti-cancer agent

It is not only blue dye that can be extracted from water; Blueberry has also become a weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Recent research has shown that this plant has 20 times more of the anti-cancer chemical glucobrassicin than broccoli. It is difficult to extract the chemical from broccoli, so woad is an effective alternative. Woad can produce even more of this chemical if young leaves are damaged. Do not try to eat waad because this plant is not edible.

Wearing waad

Have you heard the song Woad? The last stanza goes like this;

March on Snowdon with your way forward,

It doesn’t matter if it rains or snows

I never want the button to be sewn on.

Old Brits!

There is enough information on the internet today to allow you to grow your own wad, extract the blue pigment, dye some local wool and knit a blue scarf to wear the next time you climb Snowdon (or your local mountain peak). !

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