A dye prepared from the ground dried bodies of the coccus cacti insect which live on the prickly pear cactus found in Mexico, Peru and the Canary Islands. Gives a magenta colour when alum is used as the mordant, crimson when a mixture of alum and cream of tartar is used, chrome alum producing a deep purple, oxalic acid and cream of tartar a deep geranium red, tin crystals with cream of tartar a bright scarlet and with iron as the mordant a deep purple-grey.  Traditionally used also as a food colouring but now restricted by food and hygiene laws. Similar to lac found in India.