Natural Dye of the Week: Flame of the Forest

At Avani, we often talk about how our textiles are “naturally dyed.” But where do these dyes come from, and how are they able to produce such rich, vibrant colors? This month on the blog, we've been diving deeper into each of Avani’s natural dyes, looking at where these vivid colors come from, how they’re made, and the amazing shades they produce. This week, we’re examining Flame of the Forest, a flower that gives textiles vivid orange and yellow hues. 
Heralding the arrival of spring, Flame of the Forest is a species of tree native to India and Southeast Asia. Although the tree (also known as Palash) itself is unremarkable, the flowers that bloom before summer, which are vibrant orange, are beloved throughout India. In the state of West Bengal, the flower is associated with spring. In Jharkhand, Palash is associated with folk traditions, and is the state’s official flower. Although less common today, the flowers can be used to make color for Holi. Flame of the forest flowers are also said to have numerous Ayurvedic health benefits, including healing wounds and relieving pain and swelling. 
Making dye from Flame of the Forest is rather simple. After collection, the flowers are chopped into small pieces, boiled with water, and strained. Once heated, the resulting liquid can be used to dye fabrics anywhere from soft yellow to bright orange, depending on the soaking time, pH, and temperature. 
Flame of the forest flower
The Flame of the Forest flower
Straining Flame of the Forest petals that have been soaked and boiled
Scarves dyed with Flame of the Forest