Pterocarpus indicus

Our handmade watercolours are all available on our Etsy store

How to use: Wet surface of pan. Gently scrub the surface and allow more time for the watercolour to rehydrate. It creates a darker brown upon reaction with iron modifier. Iron modifier can be made by soaking rusty nails in water overnight.

Storage: Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Ensure the pan is dried out before keeping. Even though we boil our inks with natural preservatives, there is still a chance of mold growing. In case that happens, just scrap off the moldy part and you should still be able to continue using the colours.

Made with Angsana watercolour and iron modifier. 

At Wild Dot, we work with locally-sourced plant material and horticultural waste. As much as possible, we try to find alternative ways to reuse and reduce waste from our operations. For our Angsana watercolours, we reused wood shavings from a local carpenter and processed them into these honey brown pans. 

The “instant” trees of Angsana were a popular choice for landscaping; young rooted trees of 1.5 m in length were planted in the thousands between 1960s to 1980s all across the streets of Singapore. She owes her popularity as a roadside plant to her dense, wide-spreading crown which provides good shade, and her fast-growing nature (hence the term “instant” tree). 

Angsana Tree. Photo from Wiki Commons. 

However, her appeal to landscapers soon wore off. Due to her susceptibility to the Fusarium wilt disease, hundreds had to be chopped down in the 1980s. Aromatics released by the tree bark (triggered by lightning) attracts the ambrosia beetle, a tiny tree boring beetle that cultivates Fusarium fungi as a food source for the young larvae, hence starting the spread of the infection. Water transporting tubes in infected plants get clogged, resulting in the eventual wilting and death of the tree.

Fusarium wilt disease. It affects not only the Angsana trees. Photo from Wiki Commons.  

For two to three times a year, the crown is spotted with yellow, scented flowers which only last for a day. The leaves and flowers are edible and have been used in traditional medicine to treat a host of diseases. Some of these uses include: boiled leaves has been used to treat diarrhoea and as a hair tonic, dripped latex has been used in Sudang Indonesia for treating toothache.

Resin from the bark has also been used for dyeing! Its other term is called “kino”, which is a general name for gums produced by various plants in reaction to mechanical damage to the trunks. It is also called dragon’s blood, due to its bright red colouration. We would really love to get our hands on the red resin for ink-making next time, but no luck for now. 

Edible flowers and leaves of the Angsana tree. Photo from Wiki Commons.