Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How Blue is My Indigo?

Alright, I had to look up indigo seen I brought up the subject in the last post. I was right, it was a dye, so would have guessed that on Jeopardy, NTN or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Although, I wouldn't have bet money on it.

I knew that there were indigo plantations in the South as well as rice. Most people only think of tobacco or cotton plantations.

However, it appears that by the 1800s, indigo and rice production was falling off considerably.

Indigo is a blue dye extracted from plants originally, but now mostly all of it is synthetic. It puts the blue in blue jeans.

Its value in the past was that blue dye is very rare in nature and a variety of plants provided it, mostly from the genus Indigofera, which is native to the tropics. It does especially well in India where much of it was grown.

I saw it called "The Devil's Blue Dye" probably in reference to it being grown on plantations. Plantations in the West Indies and America produced a high quality indigo. Those in Georgia and South Carolina, mostly located near the coastal areas, had two cuttings. Those in Florida had more.

So There's Your Indigo. --Old B-R'er

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