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Kermes

From Academic Kids

Kermes (or chermes) is the dried bodies of the females of a scale insect (Kermes ilices, formerly Coccus ilicis), allied to the cochineal insect, and found on several species of oak near the Mediterranean. The insects are round, about the size of a pea, contain coloring matter analogous to carmine, and are used in dyeing. Red dye was created from the kermes insect, and the word crimson is derived from the word kermes. These insects were anciently thought to be of a vegetable nature, and were used in medicine.


The name Kermes is also use to describe a small European evergreen oak (Quercus coccifera) on which the kermes insect (Kermes ilices) feeds. Source: J. Smith (Dict. Econ. Plants).


Kermes is also a term used to describe a mineral, Kermes mineral, which has been describes as

  • (a) (Old Chem.) An artificial amorphous trisulphide of antimony; -- so called on account of its red color.
  • (b) (Med. Chem.) A compound of the trioxide and trisulphide of antimony. This substance occurs in nature as the mineral kermesite.

The original version of this article was based on material from the public domain 1913 Webster's dictionary.

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