The plant grows wild across India but is found in abundance at the foothills of the Himalayas.
The myrobalan plant is like the swiss army knife of natural dyes. It can be used alone with no mordant (it is itself a mordant and a dye) to create brownish yellow tones, or as a bright yellow dye with the help of alum as an additional mordant. Because of its high tannin content, myrobalan also reacts with iron compounds to create khaki green and black tones on fabric.
In addition to its use as a dye, myrobalan is an essential element of traditional block printing, used to create black prints (read our story on this here).