Dye plant gallery

This is a selection of images of the plants growing on our allotments.
All images copyright Natures Rainbow. Please contact us if you wish to use them.
Click images to enlarge.

Cota tinctoria

Dyers Chamomile full flower

Persicaria tinctoria flower with honey bee

Rubia tinctorum dyed silk

Madder dyed silk yarn

Rubia tinctorum

Once removed the outer bark reveals the translucent orange flesh. The central woody core can be seen here through the root.

Persicaria tinctoria

Japanese Indigo flower and Brian’s hand spun wool skeins dyed with indigo extracted from the round leaf strain .

Inula helenium

Elecampane in full flower

Rubia tinctorum

The pale yellow flowers of Common Madder

Rubia peregrina

The even paler flowers of Wild Madder – Rubia peregrina

Coreopsis grandeflora

Coreopsis Double flowering perennial variety

Coreopsis tinctoria

A completely red variety.

Serratula tinctoria, Sawort

Saw-Wort in flower. Also excellent bee friendy plant

Dahlia with Bumble

Dahlia with Bumble

Coreopsis tinctoria

Coreopsis flowers catching the late sun

Ladies Bedstraw in Flower

Flower of genista tinctoria

Genista Tinctoria in flower July 2014. Also called Dyers Greenweed, this is a pretty perennial and one that is vigorous if kept well-watered. Use spring and summer prunings in the dyepot. Loves wet, acid soils.

Weld in flower

Weld, or Dyer’s Rocket shoots skyward as the summer season comes round. This is a biennial and these second year plants are used for dyeing. Weld loves chalky soils.

Madder in flower

Madder has very tiny flowers which give no clue to the deep red which the roots yield in the dyepot.

Woad on allotment

Spring on the allotment, ‘watering in’ first year woad seeds. The yellow flowers are second year Woad.

Sheen on woad leaves during extraction

Woad leaves steeping in hot water at the start of the extraction process.

DP madder root in the hand

Madder root has some fleshy finger-like properties when fresh out of the ground and washed.


3 thoughts on “Dye plant gallery

  1. Ali Irving

    Hello there
    I am starting a small funded project working with local female refugee population , growing a very small amount of flax . Are you able to recommend to me 4 dye crops we could grow on chalky Kent soil for preferably natural colours of pinks browns greens and ochres …many of the refugees are from Afghanistan so if there are any cross cultural similarities that you know of that would be amazing . We aim to use our dyed flax yarn either for simple embroidery or for warping of small peg loom blankets

    Many thanks

  2. Ana Maria Bühler

    Dear lady,
    I am a new dyer trying to learn about natural dyes. I found your entrys`s about japanese Indigo very interesting. I am reading your entire blog now and admire your talent and how clear your information is writen.
    I will love to have seeds from the round leaf Persicaria tinctoria. I have a 250 m. allotment plus glashouse in Amsterdam. I got a magnificent yellow from Sophora japonica trees growing near my house. I hope you have a system for selling by post.
    with best wishes
    Ana Maria

  3. Rosie Newman

    Hi Susan

    I am an artist living in Cromarty and I would like to try some large hangings using natural Scottish dyes.

    I have never done this before but want to create about 5 of them – possible using calico or canvas, they would be dipped in two colours and hung in a large room which will have an audio installation, reflecting home and refugees.

    I am not sure where to start but would love to be able to make the dyes but think that is a steep and slow learning curve as I am working as well as studying. I wondered if you sold dyes?

    Do you have any advice please- this would be very appreciated.
    Kind Regards


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.