Vulpinic acid

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A natural yellow dye extracted from wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina). Vulpinic acid (C19H14O5) is a methyl ester derivative of pulvinic acid that was first isolated in 1925. The bright yellow dye has been used by Northwest Coast First Peoples for dyeing porcupine quills and wool. It was identified by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in yellow wool in the MFA's Chilkat Dancing Blanket (#2008.650)

Chilkat Dancing Blanket (MFA#2008.650
Wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Letharia vulpinia, benzeneacetic acid, alpha-(3-hydroxy-5-oxo-4-phenyl-2(5H)-furanylidene)-, methyl ester, (E)- (9CI),

Other Properties

Vulpinic acid is toxic by ingestion and may be absorbed through the skin.

Composition C19H14O5
CAS 521-52-8
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 322.32 g·mol−1
Solubility water, hexane

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • George Thornton Emmons, The Tlingit Indians, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 1991.
  • Leonard Soltzberg, internal report

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