Ceriops tagal, also known as Indian mangrove, is prized for its tannin-rich bark, which yields very dark red-brown on cellulose fibers. Mangroves are widely distributed in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and parts of Australia and the Pacific. They are an important tree in coastal ecosystems, and mangroves are under tremendous environmental stress from herbicide runoff to clear cutting groves for aquaculture. Strong mangrove management is vital to protect them, but allowing for selective harvest is key to supporting both village economic demands and mangroves.
There are controlled mangrove ecosystems that have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for environmental management and protection, and it is from these mangroves that we obtain our dye. The tree is harvested under FSC guidelines, and the bark is removed and considered a by-product. The bark is distributed to local villagers who boil the bark into an extract.
Ceriops is considered precious and the dyestuff is not normally thrown away after a dye session. Rather, the dye is first mixed and allowed to age for a month, then reboiled and strained for dyeing. After dyeing, the dye liquid is returned to the ceriops vat and saved for future use. It is through multiple dips that the distinctive rich brown color is developed on textiles.
The dye is sold in 100 gram packages and is enough to dye up to 250 grams of fabric a warm medium brown.