orchil. Article #42 Vol 8, pg 985.
What’s more exciting than a purple dye that you somehow extract from a boring brown lichen?
Britannica tells us that “orchil” can refer to the dye extracted from the lichen, or to the lichen itself. The ability to create a purple dye from this lichen dates back at least to the ancient Romans. Purple was, of course, a prized color, given its association with royalty.
The resulting dye was valuable enough that the method used to extract the orchil dye from the lichen was kept secret for many years by a Florentine family who held a monopoly on all things purple.
“orchil.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 8, pg 985.