The plant formerly know as Polygonum tinctorium!

Today, Monday October 3rd, Elissa and I harvested the indigo we planted this spring. It was a solemn occasion.
We are fast approaching the moment of truth. Will these plants, which we have lovingly cared for, yield the
precious blue pigment we seek?

Persicaria tinctorium

As a gardener I always find harvest bittersweet. After months of carefully tending these plants we pull them all
up. In less than an hour the patch is bare, no hint of what was so happily growing there only this morning.

harvest yield

If there is sorrow there is also a growing sense of excitement. The harvested indigo makes an impressive pile!
We haven’t worked hard for nothing – this will be a success! Won’t it?

blue stained fingers

Certainly the blue stains on our fingers indicate something!

e picking leaves

Of course harvesting is the easy part. Now we must process the plants. To save space we decided to remove
all the stems since they don’t contain the sought after pigment. Not surprisingly this took some time!
Special ‘thank you’ to a couple friends (you know who you are!) who assisted with this task!

indigo pools

Many hours later we have two kiddie pools of leaves cozily steeping in the kitchen. I think that’s enough
for one day, don’t you?


In closing I’d like to give a shout out to all the beneficial insects out there – we couldn’t have done this without
you! Also I have only just learned that our indigo, common name of Japanese Indigo, no longer answers to
the name of Polygonum tinctorium (thank you very much!) but prefers the moniker Persicaria tinctorium. Just
so you know!

– Mira Sophia



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7 responses to “The plant formerly know as Polygonum tinctorium!

  1. Laurel

    that is so cool, you guys! Love the hidden green mantis and the reddish flowers and the blue stains!! can’t wait to hear how the indigo goes!–Laurel

  2. Hi! I would like to get in touch with you about an article on your company. Not sure where to email. Thanks! Sue Spolan

  3. thanks for sharing this with us……and giving us its change of namexxwaving from london. UKxxlynda

  4. Kate

    Thanks, I didn’t know about the name change.

  5. Cathy

    Just curious how the color was that you got out if the Japanese indigo. Thinking if growing some….

    • Cathy,

      The color comes out of the leaves, but only after being precipitated or possibly composted into a cake or compost. The color is primarily shown on the fabric after it has been in a fermented vat. The color we got from our leaves seemed pretty good but our yield could have been better that season! It is definitely worth growing and fun to experiment with!

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