botanical product labs

joyperry at UWCMAIL.UWC.EDU joyperry at UWCMAIL.UWC.EDU
Thu May 9 11:44:44 EST 1996

Hi, John. Here's one thought for a lab relating to botanical products: how 
about looking at plants as sources of textile dyes? I'm sure there are many 
people in the College Park area with a lot of experience in dying yarn with 
botanical dyes. Maybe check out an area weaver's guild for info. 

I tried this semi-successfully with a botany class. Used onion skins 
(yellowish-brownish dye from carotenoids, I assume), coffee grounds for 
browns, and beets (anthocyanins change from purple to orange depending upon
pH). In the fall there would be many composites around with good
chromoplasts; the flower petals are supposed to be good dye sources.

With advance planning maybe you could also find some true indigo, and then 
talk about how textiles and dyes were one of the first major industries 
spurring colonization of the US by Europeans.

It might be a good tie-in after you talk about cell structure or pigments.

Good luck.

Joy Perry
Univ. of Wisconsin - Fox Valley
joyperry at

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