Cobra’s saffron

Mesua ferrea, bois de fer / nagas de Ceylan, Nagasbaum, palo de hierro

Another find in an Indian spice shop. This one looks like Szechuan pepper, but a saffron colour and not spiky. There just had to be some dye potential in this one…

When I first goolged the name, I didn’t come up with much info. A recent bit of research however revealed that it’s not only a culinary spice, but also an ingredient of nag champa incense. Nice.

It wasn’t long before the water in the dye pan had turned a golden yellow, so I expected to get yarn of a similar colour. The hue deepened as time progressed, and when the experiment was finished it showed more pinkish tones, mainly from non-mordanted, NM + vinegar modifier and mordanted + vinegar modifier. Acid to bring out the red (pink)?

A worthwhile experiment? Yep, as he colours are sufficiently different from other yellows. I now have to try some of the spice in cooking…


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