Friday, January 17, 2014


You can make a red dye from the roots of Lady's Bedstraw.  It's a kind of Beetroot red color.  I have heard somewhere that you can make a number of colors from the flowers of Saint John's Wort, depending upon how long the flower has been blooming.  And there is something called Dyer's Woodruff, which has dye in her name. Then there is the root of the Madder, which if you know how to do it, dyes wool red, and which if taken internally can result in birth defect and miscarriage in us people. I do know that dyes rendered from plants very often require things like chalk and heat and mumbling and stirring for just long enough, otherwise things can go wrong, and you're up before the magistrate explaining yourself.

 Either way, the stand of Saint John's Wort that for so long graced the Post Office before it was cut into, dug up and disposed of by what I can only think of as Barbarians, is making an attempt.  It's creeping rhizomes, near ubiquitous Yellow Daylilies, must not have been fully extirpated.  In one way this  resurgence of Saint John's Wort gives me a sense of joy, but in another way it reminds me of the fever I felt when one day it was all apparently gone.  And I have spent far too many hours wondering why any one would want the plant removed.  My only sensible conclusion is that somewhere it was deemed a hazard by the powerful, concerned that a child on antidepressant medication might pick up a leaf, chew on it, succumb to serotonin syndrome and flop about for a while before dying in the Post Office car park, near the trash can that also serves as an ashtray.


Gin said...

On only a marginally related note.... There is a thicket of Japanese knotweed growing down by one of the creeks here. Each spring I look longingly at the new sprouts and would love to gather some to cook. Unfortunately every year the city sprays the thicket heavily with weed killer, to no avail, of course. Nothing kills Japanese knotweed. I can only imagine the chemical content of the sprouts growing on that ground now. Such a waste.

tim candler said...

Extirpating the unwanted might be what a Polar Vortex attempts to do to us. And I guess Saint John's Wort is on the increasingly long list of Pest Plants, or what New Zealanders call "List of Unwanted Organisms." I noticed that Japanese Knotweed is a good source of early feed for bees.