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A small flowering evergreen shrub, Calluna vulgaris, common in western Europe. Heather has been used for dying textiles in Scotland since the 18th century. It contains Quercetin and myricetin colors along with some tannins in the woody stems. Heather produces a pink color in unmordanted wool. A yellowish orange color is obtained using alum or tin as mordants while copper and chrome produce brown colors. An iron mordant in wool produces a dark green. The colors are slightly fugitive. Heather stems were also used to make brooms, brushes, and baskets.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Calluna vulgaris; bruyère (Fr.); brecina (Esp.); Scotch heather; ling

Resources and Citations

  • J. and M. Cannon, Dye Plants and Dyeing, The Herbert Press, London, 1994.
  • Kurt Wehlte, The Materials and Techniques of Painting, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1975
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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