To make dyes sources such as food, flowers, weeds, bark, moss, leaves, seeds, mushrooms, lichens and minerals are used. Various plant sources, marigold, dandelion, yarrow, sunflower (yellow); carrot roots, onion skins, butternut seed husks (orange); hollyhock petals, walnut husks, fennel (brown); camellia, rose, lavender (pink); and purple color is made from blueberries, grapes, hibiscus, etc. However, the list can be expanded further if we include other plants useful for making natural dyes.
Plant based dyes were used by our distant ancestors to color various items of utility including fabrics. The decline in use of plant based dyes on clothing came after the Industrial Revolution that gave rise to the cloth factories that produced fabrics for mass consumption. The discovery of chemical based dies also impacted negatively on the production of natural dyes for being slow and limited in output.
Even today, application of the plant based dyes on clothing is limited. It mainly caters to a segment of fabrics that are basically made from natural and organic fibers like cotton, wool and silk. The plant based dyes on clothing are being produced in fewer quantities as the natural pigments are derived from renewable resources of the nature. The natural pigments can be produced more as more and more farms start cultivating the plants in larger fields.
The plant based dyes on clothing are safe and environmental friendly. Few of the dyes in fact have also healing properties as well as mentioned in Ayurveda.