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The parts most often used for dyeing are the leaves and fruit husks, but the bark, catkins and heartwood are also used. Leaves, fresh or dried, should be soaked for at least twenty-four hours before use. All parts of the tree contain a substantive dye, so it is not necessary to mordant wool to produce a strong colour. However, mordanting does produce a further range of shades, particularly with chrome, copper and iron. Husks are easiest to separate from the nuts while still fresh, and should be handled with rubber or plastic gloves, otherwise the hands will be badly stained. The husks can be left in a bucket of water for many months, or may be dried slowly for long-term storage.
All parts of the tree give various shades of browns and yellows. The colours are very permanent, except for pale shades with an alum mordant, which may yellow a little in sunlight. The bark removed from two-year-old branches is said to give a puce colour to wool mordanted with bismuth and tin, or brown-violet if given a very long simmering. The dye pot is said to smell of wallflowers.