Caesalpinea spinoza, commonly known as tara, is a small leguminous tree or thorny shrub native to Peru. T. spinosa is cultivated as a source of tannins based on a galloylated quinic acid structure. T. spinosa is placed in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae, and tribe Caesalpinieae.
T. spinosa pods are an excellent source of environmentally friendly tannins (tara tannins) most commonly used in the manufacture of automotive and furniture leathers. This growing industry is developing around their production in Peru. Some producers have their own plantations to guarantee constant quality.
Tara tannin derivatives are being proposed as antifouling against marine organisms that can grow on ship hulls. Those tannins are of the hydrolysable type. Gallic acid is the main constituent of tara tannins (53%) and can be easily isolated by alkaline hydrolysis of the plant extract. Quinic acid is also a constituent of the tara tannins. Its tannines are colourless or light making them suitable a premordant in the dyeing of cotton and other cellulose fibres. Medicinal uses include gargling infusions of the pods for inflamed tonsils or washing wounds; it is also used for fevers, colds, and stomach aches. Water from boiled, dried pods is also used to kill fleas and other insects.
We employ the fresh T. spinosa pod powder from the local market to produce beautiful light to dark beige shades on cotton, wool, silk, and all-natural textile substrates by standardized dyeing process using a different combination of natural mordants on fibers, fabric, and garments with excellent fastness properties.