One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A common lichen found on rocks, used in Scotland to make a golden-brown or reddish-brown dye for staining wool for making tweed.
Parmelia saxatilis (order Parmeliales) and other species
- ‘Of ancient origin, the crotal has remained unchanged over the years and is found throughout the world.’
- ‘The crottle lichen, the color of winter heather, used to be especially prized.’
- ‘The name was coined by George and Cuthbert Gordon who applied for a patent in 1758 which came about after George, a coppersmith from Banffshire, while mending a copper boiler in a London dye-house, noticed an orchil dye being used which was similar to his native crottles in the Highlands.’
- ‘Commonest of such crottles was Lecanora tartarea, better known as Cudbear.’
- ‘At the top of the shore lichens or crotal grow on the rocks, and various species were boiled up with whole fleeces, water and the mordant human urine to give some of the unique hues associated with Harris Tweed.’
- ‘This is dark crottle or puffed shield lichen, Parmelia physodes.’
- ‘The film shows scenes of peat cutting, sheep shearing, the collecting of crottle for dying wool, and traditional tweed waulking amongst other scenes of life in detail on the island.’
Mid 18th century: from Scottish Gaelic and Irish crotal, crotan.
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