Picramnia sellowii

Orden: Order: Picramniales

Familia: Family: Picramniaceae

Género: Genus: Picramnia

Especie: Species: Sellowii

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chokanari, morado, nanantahue, pahaku, sam panga.

Parte de la planta que se usa para el pigmento: Part of the plant used for pigment: Leaf

Color: Purple

Chokanary pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

Herbarium. Dried Chokanary leaves, sewn on rice paper.
77 x 57 cm. 2013.

Monotype on rice paper made from the dried Chokanary leaves.
100 x 65 cm. 2013.



Chokanary. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Small tree that can grow up to eight meters in height. The main stem is narrow, its branches thin, and a variable-sized crown. It has small, oval-shaped leaves and small, white, clustered flowers. Its fruits may be either red or black, growing together in bunches, similar in appearance to coffee beans.

Chokanary. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, especially in the Amazon basin. Although a warm climate shrub, it tolerates shade.

Chokanary mixed with water. Leticia, Colombia, 2011



The branches, leaves and fruits produce a purple pigment. Amazonian indigenous communities use it to dye natural fibers, painted over fabrics, and decorate their homes. Its timber is commonly used along the Pacific area of Colombia to build boats and housing.



The chokanary produces a purple dye that is extracted after macerating its leaves. This is a very rare species, providing attractive dyes given the intensity of its purple and the excellent adhesion on paper, fique and cotton. It is a versatile pigment, since it turns brownish-red when exposed to fire. In this case, however, the color was applied without exposure to heat.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing