African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 797

Full Length Research Paper

Indigenous plants in Uganda as potential sources of textile dyes

P. A. G. Wanyama1, 2*, B. T. Kiremire2, P. Ogwok1 and J. S. Murumu2
1Department of Chemistry, Kyambogo University, P. O. Box 1, Kampala, Uganda. 2Department of Chemistry, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 November 2010
  •  Published: 31 January 2011


Natural dyes derived from plant-based materials have proved to be important alternatives to the use of synthetic dyes in the textile industry. A large plant resource base for natural dyes exists in Uganda but remains in the wild and largely unexploited. Forty (40) plant species with potential to produce natural dye compounds for textile applications belonging to twenty two (22) families were identified in this study. Harungana madagascariensisBixa orellana Linn, Syzygium cordatum, Indigofera arrecta, Curcuma longa Linn, Albizia coriaria and Justicia betonica were the most common plants identified having the ability to dye local vegetable and craft materials and for other decoration purposes while Lawsonia inermis Linn, Vitex doniana, Indigofera arrecta and Morinda lucida were the least known plants as potential source of dye. Mimosaceae was widespread in several communities with seven species, followed by Myrtaceae and Caesalpianaceae, each with four species and Rubiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Moraceae, Guttiferae, Anarcardiaceae and Papilionaceae, each with two species. The thirteen families remaining each had one species. From the results, some of the plants studied are promising dye-yielding plants and could be exploited as sources of textile dyes and important economic plants. The paper provides information on the botanical names of forty potential dye-yielding plant species, their families, local names, vegetation (growth form), habitat, plant parts used and colour produced on 100% cotton fabrics.


Key words: Uganda, plants, indigenous, natural dyes, potential.