Huito

Genipa americana

Orden: Order: Rubiales

Familia: Family: Rubiaceae

Género: Genus: Genipa

Especie: Species: Americana

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chipara, elig, genipapo, guayatil colorado, higinio, jagua, uito.

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

Color: Grayish-indigo

Huito pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm.

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

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

Planta

Plant

Huito. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Tree with wide crown, which may grow up to twenty meters in height. Its cylindrical, upright trunk has an irregular-shaped bark, elliptical leaves, clustered at the end of the branches. Its individual white and yellow flowers are bundled next to the leaves. Its grayish-brown fruit is round and fleshy, and also gathers at the end of the branch.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, from Mexico to Argentina, as well as in the West Indies. It can be found in different environments, mostly in mountain slopes and wet and rainy forests in warm weather. Pollination ordinarily occurs by bees, and the plants’ fruits are spread by birds and mammals.

Huito. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, from Mexico to Argentina, as well as in the West Indies. It can be found in different environments, mostly in mountain slopes and wet and rainy forests in warm weather. Pollination ordinarily occurs by bees, and the plants’ fruits are spread by birds and mammals.

Preparation of the pigment with the huito seeds. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

The fruit is used to produce beverages and desserts. Diverse indigenous communities have used it to produce ink for tattooing, as insect repellent, and to dye textiles, hammocks and paint utensils. The plant is used to produce a fiber to make clothes, and timber used to build cabinets and other minor constructions. It is also useful as medicine for its antibiotic, diuretic and laxative properties.

Pigmento

Pigment

Huito provides a grayish-indigo, extracted by grating its fruit. The color obtained from the huito properly adheres to cotton and paper, but this is not the case with fique (natural fiber). The pigment dissolves in water or alcohol; the latter allowing the creation of a more intense indigo.

Video. Huito plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Llorón

Miconia prasina

Orden: Order: Myrtales

Familia: Family: Melastomataceae

Género: Genus: Miconia

Especie: Species: Prasina

Nombres comunes: Common names: Camasey blanco, cenizo, jogorai, kuukutee, waraia.

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

Color: Brown Yellow

Llorón pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Llorón. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Small, leafy tree between two and eight meters in height, with slender branches and prominent, oval shaped leaves. Its tiny, pink and white flowers are clustered at the ends of branches. The fruits also arranged at the end of the branches are small grapes that turn bluish-purple when ripe.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found along tropical America, from Southern Mexico to Bolivia and Paraguay, including the West Indies. Blooms during the dry season and bears fruit at the start of the rainy season. Typically found in wet tropical forests, although it also inhabits mountain forests. Birds eat the fruit and scatter the seeds. It can be found in clearings, forest fringes, and second-growth areas.

Llorón. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found along tropical America, from Southern Mexico to Bolivia and Paraguay, including the West Indies. Blooms during the dry season and bears fruit at the start of the rainy season. Typically found in wet tropical forests, although it also inhabits mountain forests. Birds eat the fruit and scatter the seeds. It can be found in clearings, forest fringes, and second-growth areas.

Color extraction and dyeing process of natural fibers. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Its timber is used as fuel and building handmade tools. Its fruit, although edible, is not popular. Mostly used as food for cattle and for biological restoration processes, since it is an easy-growing pioneer species.

Pigmento

Pigment

The llorón produces a green-tea colored pigment attained when the leaves are macerated. This is a high yielding pigment that sets easily over different surfaces. When turmeric and lemon are added, the result is the only green colored pigment, among the plants explored to effectively set on fique.

Video. Llorón plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Cúrcuma

Curcuma longa

Orden: Order: Zingiberales

Familia: Family: Zingiberaceae

Género: Genus: Curcuma

Especie: Species: Longa

Nombres comunes: Common names: Saffron from India, guisador, turmeric, zafrán.

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

Color: Yellow

Cúrcuma pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Cúrcuma. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Herbaceous plant that grows up to one meter in height. It is dark green elongated leaves stem from the base of the plant. The flowers, white to light yellow, are grouped on a circular pin that originates from the center of the plant. Recognized for its underground root system (rhrizome), brown on the outside and intense yellow orange inside, similar to ginger.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Originally found in tropical Asia. It has been domesticated in multiple regions of the world, including numerous areas of tropical America. It grows in different environments, usually dry and wet areas of warm climate regions.

Cúrcuma. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Originally found in tropical Asia. It has been domesticated in multiple regions of the world, including numerous areas of tropical America. It grows in different environments, usually dry and wet areas of warm climate regions.

Grating the Cúrcuma to extract the pigment. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Cúrcuma has been used in India for 4,000 years as a traditional substance for dyeing fabric, painting the body, and medicinal purposes. Currently it is used in cooking due to its color and flavor—notable for its role in giving curry its color—. It has a pungent, spicy and aromatic smell. As medicine it has been used to treat heartburn, arthritis, and as an anti-inflammatory. It has been attributed the ability to serve effectively in the treatment of some types of cancer.

Pigmento

Pigment

Cúrcuma produces a yellow pigment by grating the rhizome or tuber of the plant. The cúrcuma pigment is very effective because it sets well on fique (natural fiber), cotton and paper. It works well with lemon, which acts as a catalyst during the process, enhancing the intensity of the yellow color pigment. It requires fire in order to properly adhere to different surfaces.

Record of the Cúrcuma extraction process. Leticia, 2010.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Chontaduro

Bactris gasipaes

Orden: Order: Arecales

Familia: Family: Arecaceae

Género: Genus: Bactris

Especie: Species: Gasipaes

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chontaduro, chocarrás, chonta palmito, pupuña.

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

Color: Green

Chontaduro pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Chontaduro. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Palm with straight and prickly stem that may reach up to twenty meters in height. The leaves are pinnate (arranged symmetrically, nine to twenty per palm), lush-looking, with spikes, and grouped at the top. Its small, white flowers are accompanied by a large, prickly pod. The fruits, arranged in clusters, are oval, deep red and ordinarily have a single seed.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Originally found across tropical America, from Nicaragua to Brazil and Bolivia. It is mainly found in warm climates and along the foothills of mountain ranges, around non-floodable wet areas, growing well in different environments.

Chontaduro. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Originally found across tropical America, from Nicaragua to Brazil and Bolivia. It is mainly found in warm climates and along the foothills of mountain ranges, around non-floodable wet areas, growing well in different environments.

Chontaduro pigment manual extraction. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Chontaduro is widely used and planted by indigenous communities. Its fruits are high in nutritional value: contains protein, phosphorus, vitamins A, B, and C, iron and calcium, among others. The fruit can be eaten and used in a variety of ways and recipes. The flowers and the palm are also edible and its timber is used for various purposes.

Pigmento

Pigment

The chontaduro provides a green pigment when its leaflets are macerated. This is a very popular plant that can be found easily. Its pigment sets very well on paper, but not on fique (natural fiber); and on cotton it generates a low-intensity, pale green. It does not require exposure to fire to bind to the supports used.

Video. Chontaduro plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Amacizo

Erythrina fusca

Orden: Order: Fabales

Familia: Family: Fabaceae

Género: Genus: Erythrina

Especie: Species: Fusca

Nombres comunes: Common names: Amaciza, bucayo, gallito, helequeme

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

Color: Green

Amacizo pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Amacizo. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Mid-size tree with broad-spreading branches and short, conical thorns. It grows up to twenty meters in height, its leaves are pinnately trifoliate, composed of three leaf- lets. During part of the year, this tree loses its leaves almost completely. Its flowers are large, and have a claw-like shape, their color striking, ranging from yellows to bright red tones. The fruit is a brown, legume pod, with bean-shaped seeds.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical areas of America and the Old World, common on coasts, low humid zones and along riverbanks. Its flowers grow abundantly during the dry season, when the tree has no leaves; when the flowers bloom, they last just a few days. It is an important source of nectar for birds and bats.

Amacizo. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical areas of America and the Old World, common on coasts, low humid zones and along riverbanks. Its flowers grow abundantly during the dry season, when the tree has no leaves; when the flowers bloom, they last just a few days. It is an important source of nectar for birds and bats.

Amacizo during the maceration process. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

In urban areas the tree has ornamental value. It is used as a source of shade in cacao plantations. It contains various toxic alkaloids, which in small amounts can be used for medicinal purposes. Its flowers and seeds are eaten in some countries in the Americas and its leaves can also be used as fodder for cattle.

Pigmento

Pigment

The amacizo produces a green pigment, which is obtained by macerating its leaves. This ink adheres to paper best, creating a strong and intense coloring. On cotton a pale green is obtained, while it does not adhere properly onto fique. It does not require exposure to fire to properly set.

Video. Amacizo plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Bure

Calathea loeseneri

Orden: Order: Zingiberales

Familia: Family: Marantaceae

Género: Genus: Calathea

Especie: Species: Loeseneri

Nombres comunes: Common names: Bure, tinta verde

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

Color: Blue-green

Bure pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Bure. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Herbaceous plant that grows up to one meter in height. Notable for its large oval, elongated leaves, of up to twenty centimeters, which are lighter at the center than along its blade. Its flowers are pink and white clusters of petals and bracts, protruding individually over the leaves.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Its original distribution is restricted to a few countries in South America, especially Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Although generally found in warm climates, requiring high temperature and humidity, but it is a shade plant.

Bure. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Its original distribution is restricted to a few countries in South America, especially Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Although generally found in warm climates, requiring high temperature and humidity, but it is a shade plant.

Bure. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Common in gardens and as an indoor ornamental plant. It also has commercial value in some countries. The extract of its leaves is used in ceremonies of varied indigenous communities to paint a wide variety of objects, decorate crafts and clothing.

Pigmento

Pigment

Bure is hard to find, and it produces a blue-green colored pigment, obtained when its leaves are mashed. Its pigment is effectively, but the color loses intensity on cotton and does not set well on fique (natural fiber). Exposure to fire is not necessary during the dyeing process.

Video. Bure plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Huitillo

Renealmia alpinia

Orden: Order: Zingiberales

Familia: Family: Zingiberaceae

Género: Genus: Renealmia

Especie: Species: Alpinia

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chírica, guaiporé, ixquihit, monoj, naike, pintura negra.

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

Color: (+ lemon = pink) (+ alum stone = purple)

Huitillo pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm.

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

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

Planta

Plant

Huitillo. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Herbaceous, aromatic plant, which may grow two to six meters tall. Its oblong leaves accumulate at the top of its elongated stems. Its yellow-reddish flowers are grouped in clusters at the base of the plant, with its elliptical-shaped fruits located in the same spot. These fruits can vary from reddish to dark purple when ripe.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found along tropical America, from Belize to Brazil, including the Lesser Antilles. It is less frequent in forests and more common in clearings. Blooms for extended periods of time and fruits during rainy seasons. It grows in warm, humid climates along the slopes of mountain ranges.

Huitillo. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found along tropical America, from Belize to Brazil, including the Lesser Antilles. It is less frequent in forests and more common in clearings. Blooms for extended periods of time and fruits during rainy seasons. It grows in warm, humid climates along the slopes of mountain ranges.

One of the steps in the manual color extraction process. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

It somewhat resembles certain types of heliconia. Its spicy fruit is edible and harvested in different countries such as Ecuador and Mexico. It also produces cooking oil, ink, and is used as a medicinal plant to treat nausea. The crude hexane extract from the leaves of this plant has been used to treat leishmaniasis.

Pigmento

Pigment

The huitillo yields a purple color after macerating ripe fruit’s skin. This plant offers a wide spectrum of possibilities because it produces a high-yielding pigment that easily binds to the different surfaces used. Exposure to heat is indispensable during the setting process. An intense indigo blue is the result of using only the skin. If lemon is added, the color turns purple-fuchsia, and if the pigment is mixed with white clay, the result is a pastel purple. When a fair amount of alum stone is applied, the result is a purple-royal blue shade.

Video. Huitillo plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Chokanary

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.

Planta

Plant

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.

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. 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

Usos

Uses

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.

Pigmento

Pigment

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.

Video. Chokanary plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Cudi

Arrabidaea chica

Orden: Order: Lamiales

Familia: Family: Bignoniaceae

Género: Genus: Arrabidaea

Especie: Species: Chica

Nombres comunes: Common names: Chivaviri, crajirú, cudio, curi, hojita de teñir, om.

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

Color: Brown

Cudi pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Cudi. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

Ground, or at times a climber vine, reaching up to three meters tall. The stem is green, same as the leaves, which are oval and elongated. Its tubular flowers vary in color from reddish to violet and are grouped in clusters at the end of the plant. Fruits are enlonged, flattened and similar to a green-bean pod.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, from Central America to the Amazon. This plant can be easily found growing in the soil of wet tropical forests and undergrowth areas.

Cudi. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Found in tropical America, from Central America to the Amazon. This plant can be easily found growing in the soil of wet tropical forests and undergrowth areas.

Cudi macerated and mixed with water. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Indigenous communities commonly use this plant for medicinal purposes. It has disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, healing, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is used to treat diarrhea, jaundice, anemia (because of its high levels of iron), nausea and conjunctivitis. Also used to dye textiles and paint the body. Its colorful and attractive flowers make it an ornamental plant as well.

Pigmento

Pigment

Cudi produces a brownish-red color when its leaves are macerated. It is a very versatile plant, which produces a high-yielding ink that adheres well on all materials used as surfaces: paper, fique (natural fiber) and cotton. The process requires exposure to heat in order for the color to be properly fixed on the supports.

Video. Cudi plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing

Palo Brasil

Simira cordifolia

Orden: Order: Rubiales

Familia: Family: Rubiaceae

Género: Genus: Simira

Especie: Species: Cordifolia

Nombres comunes: Common names: Palo brasil, pau brasil, pernambuco, menekúu.

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

Color: Pink

Palo brasil pigment on paper. 102 x 68 cm

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

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

Planta

Plant

Palo brasil. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Descripción general

General Description

A fairly large tree, which grows up to 20 meters in height. The leaves are oblong and are found in the uppermost part of the tree. The tree has a smooth bark, and branches located high on the trunk. Its small, white and beige, bell-shaped flowers cluster at the ends of each branch. Its round, fleshy fruits are opaque in color.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Distributed in tropical America, especially in the Amazon basin. Grows in warm climates and middle and lower mountain areas. This is not a common tree and it is generally found within the forest.

Palo brasil. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Distribución geográfica
e historia natural

Geographic Distribution
and Natural History

Distributed in tropical America, especially in the Amazon basin. Grows in warm climates and middle and lower mountain areas. This is not a common tree and it is generally found within the forest.

Color extraction process from the bark of the Palo brasil. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Usos

Uses

Palo brasil’s timber is highly prized, used for building numerous objects. Indigenous communities in the Colombian, Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon value this tree because of its pigment, which is used to dye fibers for handbags and hammocks. The high regard and demand for timber have resulted in it becoming a threatened species.

Pigmento

Pigment

A range of pink and red tones is obtained after macerating the internal bark of this tree. palo brasil’s color sets well on paper, but not so well on cotton, on which it adheres only mildly. Long periods of exposure to fire are needed for it to set well on fique (natural fiber). Due to the nature of extraction —which requires cutting fragments of the bark of a scarce species—the tree was used as little as possible.

Video. Palo brasil plant. Leticia, Colombia, 2011.

Extracción + teñido

Extraction + dyeing