Woad Dye Plant

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Woad Dye Plant

Istatis tinctoria
This biennial plant, native to the steppe and desert areas of the Caucasus, has had a relationship with humans since Neolithic times. Isatis refers to the healing quality in treating wounds; tinctoria alludes to the use as a dye, most famously in Europe until the 16th & 17th centuries, when it was replaced as a blue dye by Indigo. Lately there has been a revival in growing this plant for dye, especially in the colder areas where growing Indigo is marginal. Like Indigo, the dye requires a bit of art and technique to yield a strong blue color. Woad plus Weld yield the famous “Lincoln green”. First year leaves yield the dye color; second year yellow flowers, blooming early in the season, have some value for pollinators, especially syrphid flies. Uncommon and tertiary uses would be as a human food and medicine, though this could be shifting as recent journal articles cite the potential as an antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer herb.

Woad grows easily in full sun to part shade in most soil types. The name Woad derives from a word meaning weed. Because of this tendency to naturalize, make sure to deadhead flower stalks in order to prevent unwanted seed production. The states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming list woad as a noxious weed; not for sale if you live in these states.



5929 Woad
Item Discounted
Price
A: 0.2g for $2.75  
B: 1g for $6.00  
C: 4g for $11.00  
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Germination Testing

For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.