Natural Plant Dyes
Extracts from Well-known Plants

This on-line article is a natural progression from two others on-site: Trees, Glorious Trees [to be found on the Fun section] and What's In a Wild Plant? [in this section].

In urbanised, industrialised society - where our food may well be pre-processed or preserved, our medicines appear in shrunk-wrapped sachets, and clothes can be bought through mail order - most have us have lost touch with the usage of plants. In the old days the cottager would be able to nip down to the end of the garden or raid the hedgerows for the plants that would relieve sickness or provide other useful properties.

Plants provided a ready source of colouring agents for clothes and paper, and today there is new interest in the use of natural dyes as the public become more environmentally aware, and concerned about pollution. The 'colour-plant' list below has been trawled from various books on plants and we've arranged it so that you can check what well-known plants provide a colour, or find what colour can be derived from a known plant.

Please note that under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without the permission of the owner or occupier of the land. It is also illegal to pick, uproot, collect the seed from or sell any of 107 particularly rare or vulnerable species.

REDS / PINKSAgrimonyYellow
AlderAlderBlack/Brown/Red
Alkanet AlkanetRed
BlackthornAshYellow
DandelionRootBilberryBlue/Brown/Purple
Field MadderRootBirchBrown Yellow
Ladies BedstrawRootBlackberryBlack
MarjoramBlackthornBlue/Brown/Red
MeadowsweetRootBog AsphodelYellow
RaspberriesBog MyrtleYellow
SorrelRootBogbeanBrown
TormentilRootBrackenGreen/Yellow/Brown
Wild madderRootBrambleYellow/Brown
BroomYellow
BROWNBuckthornYellow
AlderBurdockYellow
Bilberry ButtercupPurple
BirchColtsfootGreen
BlackthornCommon DockYellow
BogbeanCornflowerBlue
Bracken FernRootCrab AppleYellow
Briar/BrambleRootCrowberryPurple
DandelionRootDandelionBrown/Red/Purple
Hops Deadly NightshadePurple
JuniperDevil's BitBlue
LarchNeedlesDockBlack
LichensDock SorrelGreen
OakBarkDog's MercuryBlue
OnionSkinsDogwoodYellow
SpeedwellDyer's BroomYellow
WalnutHusksElderBlue/Black/Green/Purple
White WaterlilyRootFlowering RushGreen
FoxgloveGreen
YELLOWFumitoryGreen
AgrimonyGipsywortBlack
AshInner bark/leavesGoldenrodYellow
BirchGorseYellow
Bog AsphodelHeathGreen
Bog MyrtleHeatherYellow
BrackenRoot/topsHopsBrown
BrambleHorsetailGreen
BroomJuniperBrown
BuckthornBerries/barkKidney VetchYellow
BurdockLadies BedstrawRed/Yellow
Common DockRootLady's MantleGreen
Crab AppleInner barkLarchBrown
Dogwood LichensBrown/Green
Dyer's BroomTopsLily of the ValleyGreen
GoldenrodMarestailYellow
GorseBark/flowers/shoots MarigoldYellow
Heather MarjoramRed
Kidney VetchMarsh MarigoldYellow
Ladies BedstrawTops/stemsMarsh RagwortYellow
MarestailMarsh-WoundwortYellow
MarigoldMeadow RueYellow
Marsh MarigoldMeadowsweetBlack/Red/Yellow
Marsh RagwortMotherwortGreen
Marsh-WoundwortNettleYellow
Meadow RueNettlesGreen
MeadowsweetOakBlack/Brown
NettleOnionBrown/Yellow
OnionSkinsPennywortYellow
PennywortPlantainGreen
PoplarBark/wood/leavesPoplarYellow
PrivetLeavesPrivetBlue/Green/Yellow
SorrelPurple LoosestrifePurple
St. John's WortFlowersRaspberriesRed
SundewSorrelRed/Yellow
TeaselSpeedwellBrown
TormentilRootSpindlePurple
WeldSt. John's WortPurple/Yellow
WillowLeavesSundewPurple/Yellow
Yellow FumitoryTeaselYellow
Yellow WortTormentilRed/Yellow
WalnutBlack/Brown
GREENWaterlilyBlack
BrackenBudsWeldYellow
ColtsfootWhite WaterlilyBrown
Dock SorrelWild MadderPink
ElderWild PansyBlue
Flowering RushWillowYellow
FoxgloveWoadBlue
FumitoryYellow BedstrawPurple
HeathYellow FlagGreen
HorsetailYellow FumitoryYellow
Lady's MantleYellow IrisBlue/Black
LichensYellow WortYellow
Lily of the ValleyLeaves
Motherwort
NettlesRoot/stalk/leaves
PlantainLeaves/Root
PrivetBerries/leaves 
Yellow Flag
 
PURPLE
Bilberry 
ElderBerries
Purple Loosestrife
Crowberry 
DandelionRoot
Deadly Nightshade
Spindle
St. John's WortFlowers
Sundew 
Buttercup
Yellow Bedstraw
BLUE
Bilberry
Blackthorn
Cornflower 
Devil's Bit
Dog's Mercury
ElderBerries
PrivetBerries/leaves
Wild PansyLeaves/stem
WoadLeaves
Yellow IrisRoot
BLACK
AlderBark
BlackberryShoots
DockRoot
ElderBark
Gipsywort
MeadowsweetWhole plant
OakBark and acorns
WalnutHusks
WaterlilyRoot
Yellow IrisRoot

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