Quebracho Moreno



Quebracho colorado (Schinopsis balansae and Schinopsis lorentzii), commonly called quebracho is an evergreen tree that grows wild in South America. It grows mainly in Argentina and Paraguay in dense sub-tropical forests which also include a variety of other trees and vegetation. The name is due to its hardness, and comes from two Spanish words, quebrar and hacha, meaning the axe breaker. In fact, quebracho has been used locally for posts, telegraph poles, bridge timbers, railway ties, paving blocks and for any construction where great durability is desired.

Quebracho moreno is high in tannin. It can be used as a tannin mordant or a dye on cellulose fibers. The extract will produce a golden brown color and will darken slightly on exposure to direct sunlight. For more information on using it as a dye, please see our page on natural dye extracts.

From our Feedback Friday series:

When I do the mordant process and use tannin it usually dyes my fabric a brown color. Is there a trick for that NOT to happen?

Tannin is present in a number of different dyestuffs, and depending on how dark it is, does create a brown shade. If you want to use a “clear” tannin like gallo-tannin, the color will be a light yellowish brown – similar to the color of a manila folder. Additionally, it is normally not noticeable in the final dyed textile unless you are dyeing very pale shades. A quick rundown of other tannins that are suitable for use are:

  • Gallo tannin: “clear” or light-colored, use at 5-10% of the weight of fiber (WOF)
  • Tara tannin: “clear” or light-colored, use at 10% WOF
  • Chestnut: light to medium yellow, use at 5-10% WOF
  • Myrobalan: light to medium yellow, use at 10-20% WOF
  • Pomegranate: medium to dark gold, use at 10% WOF
  • Cutch: medium yellow to brown, use at 10% WOF
  • Quebracho Moreno: medium gold, use at 10% WOF
  • Walnut: dark brown, use at 25-50% WOF (this is powdered walnut hulls, not an extract)


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