Cochineal

Coch"i*neal

(kch"*nl; 277), [Sp. cochinilla, dim. from L. coccineus, coccinus, scarlet, fr. coccum the kermes berry, G. ko`kkos berry, especially the kermes insect, used to dye scarlet, as the cochineal was formerly supposed to be the grain or seed of a plant, and this word was formerly defined to be the grain of the Quercus coccifera; but cf. also Sp. cochinilla wood louse, dim. of cochina sow, akin to F. cochon pig.] A dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of females of the Coccus cacti, an insect native in Mexico, Central America, etc., and found on several species of cactus, esp. Opuntia cochinellifera.
[1913 Webster]

These insects are gathered from the plant, killed by the application of heat, and exposed to the sun to dry. When dried they resemble small, rough berries or seeds, of a brown or purple color, and form the cochineal of the shops, which is used for making carmine, and also as a red dye.
[1913 Webster]

Cochineal contains as its essential coloring matter carminic acid, a purple red amorphous substance which yields carmine red.
[1913 Webster]

 

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Fri 14th December 2018