Cochineal in India.

Scientific American 22, 30.11.1861

An Indian correspondent of the London Globe, has recently pointed out that the cochineal insect - the dye of which is at present, with the exception of a small quantity imported from Madeira, entirely derived from South America - is found over a vast tract of country in British India. It was introduced in 1801, when the lac insect was unknown, and cochineal was worth $7 a pound, by a gentleman of the name of Dawson, tempted by a prize offered by the East India Company. The cactus, on which alone the insect flourishes, grows profusely throughout the southwestern provinces of the Indian peninsula. Within a very short time, the cochineal extended over 800 miles of country; but, as no persons who understood how to prepare the article for market had been introduced with the cochineal insect, the commercial speculation completely failed. In the course of time, the cochineal insect extended from Fort St. George, where it was landed, 4,000 miles inland. Here it is now found in a wild state, but natives have not yet learned how to use it for coloring silk and wool.

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