More Interesting Info...
Red Kamala Dye Mallotus Philippensis Seeds
Packet of 20+ seeds fresh seeds from this seasons harvest.
These seeds are best planted as soon as they arrive.
I will say right here at the top, of all the ways I have tried growing this plant the very best germination rate I have had is about 80% with an average of 25% most of the time.
Expect anywhere from 0-16 plants from every packet of these seeds.
That’s right, maybe none, nothing, ZERO, not even one.
This fella is a gamble!
Germination rates are really erratic no matter what I have tried, though I have noticed some trees perform better in some years so some yet unknown reason?
I have tried standard soil from around the base of the trees, not watered, bottom watered, top watered. 0-5%(not many seedlings around the base so maybe they inhibit the growth of each other?)
My standard potting mix I use for everything here watered every second day. 0-80%
Straight sand, Vermiculite, peat, cocopeat and even various types of wet paper. 0-15% (lots of mould and fungal issues, awesome colored fungi though. hahaha!)
I have used a HWT at various temps, an acid wash at various concentrations, alcohol wash, detergent wash, orange juice soak. 5-60% strike, but it seemed a bit random and independant to the treatment)
1month and 2months of cold stratification in the fridge, wet sand, dry in a packet, frozen. 0-5% for me. A couple overseas folks said that a long cold stratification produced great germination for them, but they did not have a “control” to compare against that wasn’t stratified.
To my way of thinking it doesn’t prove it was better than just planted as per normal. Gotta have a “control” & “test subject” or results don’t mean much..
I gave away ~120 jumbo packets of 100+seeds a couple years back.
Sent them out to folks all over the world so that they could try a heap of different things, and there was a huge variety in results, nothing particularly amazing or consistent.
Most had a 0-50% strike regardless of what they did? (If you are one of those folks that has discovered a better way, and is yet to tell me about it, or have any tips for consistency, please let me know!)
There you go, this fella isn’t easy, so please consider it a gamble!
The seeds are as fresh as they come, but if it doesn’t grow please don’t be surprised, or disillusioned, and definitely don’t come back to whinge to me about it..
Why grow it anyway?
It is a great revegetation plant, a highly sought after native that provides habitat and shelter to all sorts of critters, and it produces a really cool, waxy red dye.
Looks great as a pruned hedge, drought tolerant, resistant to most insects and diseases.
The pods are really ornamental and get covered in this dusty red powder that can be dissolved in a heap of different ways.
It apparently contains the chemical Rottlerin, a couple yellow and red coloured resins, waxes, tannic acid, gums, and several volatile oils. Traditionally “Red Kamala dye” is made from the odorless, tasteless powdery coating, which is in turn made from tiny little oil glands and hairs that fall of when rubbed or shaken.
Native plant to Australia, as well as India, Malay Archipelago, Orissa, Bengal, Bombay, Abyssinia, Southern Arabia, China and a couple of other spots around Asia, as it will grow just about anywhere.
Called all sorts of things including Chenkolli, Kapila, Kuramaddaku, Kurangumanjal, Manjanampottu, Noorimaram, Ponoo, Ponnakam, Shenkolli, Sindooram, Thavatta, Monkey face tree, or as most folks in Australia know it, the Red Kamala tree.
Normally the red powder is brushed off and collected when the fruit is ripe and beginning to open.
The dye itself can be chemically extracted and dissolved by alcohol or solvents, or even just boiling in carbonate of soda resulting in a very durable red dye. I used to be one of the main dyes for silk, but cheaper synthetic have taken over the market these days.
The red powder is also used in India to treat many ailments, especially skin conditions and the outer covering of the fruit is dried and powdered for the expulsion of tapeworms.
Roots, stems and leaves are reported to contain prussic acid and have shown to be effective in the treatment in some tumours.
The seeds themselves contain a large % of oils and fats which are used as tung oil in fast drying paint, lacquer and varnishes. I used it on my axe handle and it really seems to preserve the timber and darken up the colour a lot.
High in sapanoids the whole plant makes an effective fish poison in a pinch.
That’s about it folks, and let me just say one last time so that there can be no confusion at all, NO guarantees with this fella, but please feel free to have a punt!
Sustainably harvested by me and the Mrs, no chems, no nasties no problems!!!