Monday, 12 October 2009
Kusagi means "stink tree" in Japanese. It grows in my area off the sides of cliffs in swampy rocky dangerous places. Nondescript. The tree grows quickly for three to five years and then rots and dies. Hmmmm. It has a hydrangea like white flower in August and I take note of where the trees are as I drive by. In October the flowers have gone to a small blue black berries cuddled in red leaf frames. They last about a week before turning black. During this short window I gather them and use them as a dye. Like most berry dyes the color is not particularly fast. However it is particularly beautiful. You can dye light blues and over dye with pale yellow to get willow green. Gorgeous and rare colors in the vegetable dye world. The red frames dye a coppery color.