Botanically known as Lawsonia inermis
Henna is a branched shrub or small tree of 2-5m height. The branches grow irregularly from a twisted trunk whereas the leaves are the opposite to it. They grow almost directly from the stem without a long petiole. It also has small white flowers with a strong fragrance. The fruit is small and spherical containing numerous seeds.
Part of Plant Used
The leaves are used in dried form, either as a whole or in a finely grounded greenish-grey powder.
Native of Western India, it can be cultivated in most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is a plant that removes large quantities of nutrients from the soil, so it is always better to not cut the tree but only pick the leaves.
Dyeing with Henna
Henna gives beautiful orange and russet tones. Powdered henna leaves can be used to dye silk and wool, with or without the use of a mordant, in a hot dye bath with some lemon juice. It is also used in indigo vats to maintain bacterial fermentation. It is widely used to dye leather, hair and skin in a brownish red colour.
* Also can be used as Soap Making Colorant, Candle Making Colorant and as a Hair Dye.