Botanically known as Mallotus philippensis
It is a medium sized ayurvedic tree that grows up to 25m in height. Also known as the monkey face tree. It has a smooth grey bark with slight wrinkles. The fruit covering the tree gives out a red dye that is used as a colourant as well. Trees are completely covered with fruits in fruiting season.
Part of Plant Used
The red granules covering the ripe capsules are used. They are separated by beating and shaking the fruits or stirring vigorously in water.
This Kamala often appears in secondary forests. Widespread in Himalayas through India, Sri Lanka and southern China.
Dyeing with Kamala
Kamala is mainly used for silk dyeing and less commonly for wool and cotton. It is a mordant dye and is highly recommended to use on textiles that have been pre-mordanted in an alkaline dye bath. Kamala, like annatto, is not soluble in water and has to be soaked in alcohol to extract the colour and to use later in a dye bath. It gives beautiful golden yellows on cottons and brighter shades on yellow on silk and wool.
* Also can be used as Soap Making Colorant and Candle Making Colorant.