These fast-growing trees, up to 6 feet per year, are grown in some countries primarily for wood production. It's leaves, which are used world-wide in floral arrangements, can also be used as a natural insecticide, or placed under the beds of pets to act as a natural tick and flea repellent. Leaves have also been used for centuries as a dye on wool and silk fibers, as well as on baskets, providing yellow, orange, rust, and red colors, depending on the species of the tree.
Eucalyptus trees not being native to our area of the world, my daughter gifted me with some dried leaves purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs. I was eager to see what dye color they might yield.
|Eucalyptus globulus leave from Mountain Rose Herbs|
|Eucalyptus globulus leaves|
The leaves shown in the picture above are from the Eucalyptus globulus tree. Eucalyptus cinera is know to give beautiful oranges and rusty-reds to purple shades of color, but most of the other eucalyptus give yellow or golden shades of color. The Eucalyptus globulus proved to be no exception.
I used half of the 8 ounce. bag of leaves and simmered them in a pot of water for about an hour. Then I immersed an equal weight of fiber pre-mordanted with alum, and simmered for another hour. I used 2 ounces of a taupe-gray shade of Blue-faced Leicester wool roving, and 2 ounces of white wool yarn.
|Top left-undyed roving; top right-dyed roving; bottom-wool yarn; |
all dyed with Eucalyptus globulus leaves
While the yarn came out a golden color, the roving turned a very unique, but pretty, shade of olive green-brown.
|Taupe Blue-faced Leister roving dyed with Eucalyptus globulus.|
An interesting footnote:
We have all heard the old adage "Money doesn't grow on trees." Well, maybe it does grow on Eucalyptus trees! I came across this interesting article by Dan Verano published in the October 23, 2013 issue of National Geographic Magazine: "Gold Grows on Eucaluptus Trees." People had reported finding bits of gold on Euclatyptus leaves. In his artcle, Verano states, "Australian researchers confirm that deep-rooted Eucalyptus trees pilfer gold from ore deposits underground and transport them into their leaves." It is believed that when the roots encounter the ore deposits, in search for water, they take in some gold along with the water. The gold being a foreign substance, it is then transported through the tree veins and pushed out to the leaves to be disposed of.