Orcein, also archil, orchil, lacmus and C.I. Natural Red 28, are names for dyes extracted from several species of lichen, commonly known as “orchella weeds”, found in various parts of the world. A major source is the archil lichen, Roccella tinctoria. Orcinol is extracted from such lichens. It is then converted to orcein by ammonia and air. In traditional dye-making methods, urine was used as the ammonia source. If the conversion is carried out in the presence of potassium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, and calcium sulfate (in the form of potash, lime, and gypsum in traditional dye-making methods), the result is litmus, a more complex molecule.[1] The manufacture was described by Cocq in 1812 and in the UK in 1874. Edmund Roberts noted orchilla as a principal export of the Cape Verde islands, superior to the same kind of moss found in Italy or the Canary Islands, that in 1832 was yielding an annual revenue of $200,000.[4]:pp.14,15 Commercial archil is either a powder (called cudbear) or a paste. It is red in acidic pH and blue in alkaline pH.