Arbutus: Dye from the bark of Arbutus?

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Kidzarts, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. Kidzarts

    Kidzarts Member

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    I am staying on Saturna Island and my host says the bark of his Arbutus stains his deck. I was wondering if this bark would dye wool and if Coastal First Nations people used this bark to dye the fibre used in their weavings. Also does anybody know what sources were used to dye their weavings and pigments to stain their carvings. I was hoping to do something authentic with my grade 4 class along these lines. Lorna
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Try it out and see what happens. Only use the loose bark, don't peel anything else off the stems as that could injure the tree.
     
  3. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    You might try boiling to create dye. From "Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast" (Pojar & Mackinnon): "The Straits Salish of Vancouver Island sometimes cooked the reddish, papery bark with camas bulbs to color them pink. Red-alder bark was also used for this purpose." Mentioned elsewhere is the use of oregon grape (Mahonia spp.) bark to make a bright-yellow dye.
     

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