Botanically known as Caesalpinia sappan.
Sappanwood is a small shrubby tree between 4 and 8m high, thorny and with a slim trunk, greyish brown with distinct ridges and many prickles. The large yellow flowers have scented petals.
Part of Plant Used
Only the dark red heartwood of the trunk is used along with the larger branches. The wood is cut in large pieces and then powdered as per the requirement to be used as the dye material.
It is mainly grown in hilly areas with a clay soil at medium altitudes. In the Malaysian peninsula, it grows best on sandy river banks. Native to region between central and south India through Burma and south of China. It has now been neutralised in many parts of Malaysia and India, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.
Dyeing with Sappanwood
Much used for its beautiful shades of reds and pinks, the powder is boiled thoroughly. Colours obtained well on pre mordanted silks, wool and cottons. It is a very wash fast dye with good resistance to light.
* Also can be used for Soap Making Colorant/ Candle Making Colorant.