Back to: Nature online

Seeds of Trade

 
-

Region: South Asia

Other regions: 

Product: Dyes and pigments

Other products from this region: 
   Dyes and pigments belong to the category Miscellaneous inedible

 SUMMARY
 WILD RELATIVES
 ORIGINS
 EARLY USES
 TRANSFER AND SPREAD
 AGRICULTURE
 MODERN CONTEXT
  POST HARVEST


Agriculture

Most species of Indigofera grow in tropical or subtropical climates and cultivation, such as it is today, occurs usually in small plantations of shrubs.

Woad is an exhaustive crop and needs to be moved to ensure that crop rotation works well and soil fertility is maintained. The leaves can be harvested 4-6 times a year and are then immediately milled and ground.

Henna grows as a shrub or small tree throughout its range, but is not intensively cultivated. Because it is perennial, trees can be harvested over many years.

Plants of madder were propagated vegetatively by rhizomes, and can also be grown from seed. It prefers well-drained, lime-rich soil and can survive on almost pure chalk. The stems are brittle and must be supported to encourage growth. Madder should be grown for at least three years before harvesting the roots. Similar time scales are necessary for munjeet.

When the flowers seeds and stalks of Reseda luteola turn yellow the plants are ready for harvesting. The plants can be hung upside down to dry for processing later. Weld is generally propagated by seed and is grown as an annual or biennial crop. Species of Reseda often grow in disturbed places, and weld has been introduced to suitable areas all over the world.

Many Juglans species are cultivated as street trees in the United States and Europe, and plantations are established for nut production. Its use as a dyestuff is now largely confined to the speciality craft market.