Sunday, 24 April 2011

Colour from the season - willy lily red

Arum maculatum is known as Cuckoo-Pint, Lords and Ladies, Starchwort and Willy Lily amongst it's other numerous names, it's also one of our more toxic wild plants - luckily I guessed that about it (looks poisonous doesn't it?), and so was quite careful with it.

At one time it was grown in Britain on an industrial scale for starch production, not only to stiffen cuffs and collars and (earlier) Elizabethan ruffs, but it's also very similar to Cassava flour for culinary uses. In which case it might very well make a good flour paste for resist printing before indigo dyeing.

Countrylovers website tells you how to prepare the flour from the root - experiment at your own risk!
It has quite a strange smell and these colours...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.