Botanically known as Acacia catechu
Cutch is a small or medium sized thorny tree, up to 15m tall. It has a dark grey bark that peels in long rectangular strips. It has white to pale yellow mimosa-like flowers that are arranged on long spikes. The fruit is a strap shaped pod, shining brown with 3-6 seeds.
Part of Plant Used
Heartwood of the trunk and slightly thick branches are used. Wood of freshly felled trees give out more cutch than the dried wood.
It occurs naturally in the deciduous forests. More common in drier regions, on sandy soils of riverbanks and watersheds. It can be found in the wild from the southern Himalayas of Pakistan, northern India and Nepal, south of Andhra Pradesh in India and east of Burma.
Dyeing with Cutch
It is a source of complete range of browns, from hazel to khakhi to almost black browns. It contains 55-60% tannins. Excellent dyes for cotton, silk and wool being very easy to use. They are simply dissolved in hot water (30% WOF) preferably with the addition of copper sulphate (6% Weight of Dye). Proteins (silk and wool) being dyed in the bath are not heated beyond 80ºC. They are then left to cool in the dye bath. Dye is fixed by oxidising it in the air before rinsing it. These dyes are very light fast and wash fast.
* Also can be used as Soap Making Colorant and Candle Making Colorant.