Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

The Virtual Conference is located at

Abstract Detail


Pinter, Hannah [1], Baghai-Riding, Nina [1], McClure, Jonathan [1], Koehler, Catherine [1].

Natural Dyes from Plants that Grow in the Mississippi Delta.

Dyeing with plants is an old process. For many centuries people depended on natural dyes to achieve desired colors. It was well known that specific plant organs (fruits, stems, leaves, roots, blossoms, bark) can yield dyes. Today, synthetic aniline dyes are readily available at any major retailer and have cast a shadow on the utility of natural dyes. In this study, natural dyes were made from plants that grow and are abundant in the Mississippi Delta during the fall season. The species and plant organs used are as follows: flowers of goldenrod (Solidago), foliage from blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), fruit from pokeberry (Phytolacca americana) and American holly (Ilex opaca), female cones and foliage of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), roots from madder (Rubia tinctorum), leaves of Sassafras albidum, oak (Quercus) galls, foliage of pawpaw (Asimina triloba), and more. Glass containers were used for dye preparation; overnight soaking was required for oak galls and bald cypress cones. Three-inch squares from 100% cotton sheets were simmered on a stove with a borax solution for an hour the night before. Some cotton squares were soaked overnight with an alum mordant to brighten the color; Iron (II) Sulfate was added directly to the dye bath to dull the color. The time for a particular dye to bind to the fabric ranged from 30 minutes to several hours. Unsoaked flowers of goldenrod produced a bright yellow dye bath after 30 minutes of heating whereas it took hours for chopped leaves of blackberry to break down despite soaking them overnight. Tannins associated with bark and oak galls allowed the color to easily bind to the fabric and did not require mordants. Pokeberry fruit and American holly produced brightly colored dye bathes, but their color did not bind with the fabric even with the addition of an alum mordant. Madder roots produced a red dye bath that easily bound to the fabric; roots are rich in tannins, which could enhance the pigment of the dye. Future work will explore other dye colors generated by Mississippi plants as well as the chemical makeup of the dyes and pigments responsible for observable bright colors.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - Delta State University, Division Of Biological & Physical Sciences, Box 3262, Cleveland, MS, 38733, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P2, Ethnobotany Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P2ET010
Abstract ID:1151
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2021, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved