Goldthread (Coptis trifolia ) LC

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sliced Chinese goldthread root. Photo by X. Zhang



Goldthread is a perennial herb growing from slender bright yellow to orange rhizomes. Goldthread grows in wet coniferous and mixed forests, bogs, willow scrub and tundra, in areas include Japan, China, Korea, Eastern Siberia and North America [1].

Historical importance

Goldthread, like all photoberberin dyes, is used as a direct dye, in a hot dye-bath, to obtain a bright golden yellow on silk or wool. The Micmac of the Gaspe peninsula and Acadia boiled the rhizomes to dye yellow [2]. The French settlers in Canada adopted this dye for their woolen cloth [3]. Japanese used Coptis japonica as a traditional dye.

Summary of results

Analytical instrumentation and procedures


Absorbance at 350nm (mAU)

Sample information

sample information, By R. A. Laursen, Boston University

Identified compounds

Compound RT (min.) MW UV/vis Other
xx xx0 xx xx Comments here
x x x x
x x x x
x x x x


[1] Cardon, Dominique. "Natural dyes, sources, Traditions, Technology and Science" 331 (2007).

[2] Whitehead, R. H. (1982) Micmac Quillwork; Micmac Indian Techniques of Porcupine Quill Decration, 1600-1950. Halifax: Nava Scotia Museum. p. 68;

[3] Yamazaki K. The illustrated book of dye plants, vol. 1 (1985/2002). pp. 46-7.

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