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Orcein, also archil, orchil, lacmus, Citrus Red 2, and C.I. Natural Red 28, are names for dyes extracted from several species of lichen, commonly known as "orchella weeds", found in various parts of the world. A major source is the archil lichen, Roccella tinctoria. Orcinol is extracted from such lichens. It is then converted to orcein by ammonia and air. In traditional dye-making methods, urine was used as the ammonia source. If the conversion is carried out in the presence of potassium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, and calcium sulfate (in the form of potash, lime, and gypsum in traditional dye-making methods), the result is litmus, a more complex molecule. The manufacture was described by Cocq in 1812 and in the UK in 1874 . Commercial archil is either a powder (called cudbear) or a paste. It is red in acidic pH and blue in alkaline pH.
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ORICELLO [BOTANICA]. ORCINA [CHIMICA]
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\ar"chil\ (?; 277), n. [of. orchel, orcheil, it. orcella, oricello, or osp. orchillo. cf. orchil.]
1. a violet dye obtained from several species of lichen (roccella tinctoria, etc.), which grow on maritime rocks in the canary and cape verd islands, etc. on.
2. the plant from which the dye is obtained. [written also orchal and orchil.]
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