Tag Archives: tyrian purple

Purple and Indigo Wandering Jews

I was thinking what if any connection there is between the Jews and Phoenicians. The colour purple supposedly originates from the Phoenicians so I put “purple Jews” into Google. The first result I got was an article titled: “Growing Wandering Jew Plants – How To Grow Wandering Jew Plants”. Apparently there is a purple plant called wandering jew.

On the gardening website I saw a related article titled “Killing Wandering Jew… Plants: How to Get Rid of Wandering Jew Weeds In The Garden”. I added the three dots. I’m surprised the ADL hasn’t deemed these weeds anti-Semitic.

Apparently there are at least two kinds of wandering jew plants, weeds and “good jews”. The “good jew” is Tradescantia pallida, a purple plant, whereas the weed is Tradescantia fluminensis, a White plant. I guess that answers the question are Jews White? Looks Purple to me.

tradescantiapallida

 

Let’s not get side-tracked to botany any longer. I was supposed to discuss Jews and the colour purple. The Phoenicians got their purple dye from sea snails. This is called Tyrian purple. A Wikipedia article on Jewish symbolism says that Israelites used to have an indigo or purple-blue dye called “tekhelet”. This is derived from a sea snail called Hexaplex trunculus. This dye appears to have been similar yet different to the Tyrian purple. That dye was derived from the sea slug Murex brandaris (currently named Bolinus brandaris). Interestingly the Wikipedia article on Hexaplex trunculus decribes “tekhelet” as purple-blue, and Tyrian purple as purple-red. They are both different hues of purple apparently.

While this does not prove any indisputable connection between Jews and the Phoenicians, it appears they had a similar technique of obtaining purplish dye from sea snails. Whether it actually means anything, I do not know. The Wikipedia article on Tyrian purple mentions one interesting fact:

“Recent research in organic electronics has shown that Tyrian purple is an ambipolar organic semiconductor. Transistors and circuits based on this material can be produced from sublimed thin-films of the dye. The good semiconducting properties of the dye originate from strong intermolecular hydrogen bonding that reinforces pi stacking necessary for transport.”

This sounds like it might be significant. However, I don’t know what an “ambipolar organic semiconductor”, and what people in classical times would have done with such substances. Did the ancient Phoenicians make transistors and circuits with their dye?

 

Links:

Growing Wandering Jew Plants – How To Grow Wandering Jew Plants: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/wandering-jew/growing-wandering-jew-plants.htm

Killing Wandering Jew Plants: How To Get Rid Of Wandering Jew Weeds In The Garden: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/wandering-jew/get-rid-of-wandering-jew.htm

Tyrian purple: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple

Jewish symbolism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_symbolism

Hexaplex trunculus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexaplex_trunculus

Bolinus brandaris: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolinus_brandaris

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