1A scarlet dye used chiefly for coloring food.
- The same options were available for dyeing the wool or cotton, which could be achieved at home using dyes such as cochineal and indigo.
- Traditional red colouring includes kermes and cochineal, both of which are pigments made by crushing masses of tiny insects.
- The most common animal dye was cochineal, a crimson colour which came from cactus eating insects, of which 17,000 were needed to produce one single ounce of dye.
2 (cochineal insect) The scale insect that is used for cochineal, native to Mexico and formerly widely cultivated on cacti.
- Dactylopius coccus, family Dactylopiidae, suborder Homoptera
- The brightly-coloured snack contains a red dye processed from the dried body of the female cochineal insect, collected in central America.
- The kermes was expensive and the abundant cochineal insect could be used to make a cheap substitute.
- Farmed, harvested, and dried by natives on small family plots, cochineal insects helped color the silks and wools of Hapsburg royalty.
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