catechu

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catechu

(kăt`əcho͞o) or

cutch,

extract from the heartwood of Acacia catechu, a leguminous tree of the pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family, native to India and Myanmar. Catechu is a fast brown dye used for various shades of brown and olive, including the familiar khaki, and also in tanning. White cutch is a synonym for gambier, a leaf extract of a shrub (Uncaria gambir) of the madder family, which is similarly used.

Catechu

 

a substance obtained from the wood of the East Indian acacia (Acacia catechu) of the family Leguminosae (the plant is native to India and Sri Lanka). By boiling small pieces of the wood, an extract is obtained. After evaporation, the extract becomes a thick reddish brown mass. Catechu contains25–55 percent tannin. It dissolves in acetic acid and is precipi-tated from solution by sulfuric acid or gelatin. Catechu is usedto tan hides and, when oxidized by potassium bichromate, it isused as a dye for cotton and silk fabrics.