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Woad
Woad
 

Woad


 (Isatis tinctoria), a hardy biennial natural dye plant; source of natural indigo, used for several thousand years in Europe and the Middle East. Woad dye extraction is complex and produces indigo dye from the dark blue-green, spinach-like leaves in its first year of growth.
In its second year of growth it can no longer be used for dye, but produces a large flower head with many seeds that you can save for your next crop. Woad, being hardy, was the only blue dye plant in Northern Europe for centuries, but we also stock the Asian 'Japanese or Chinese Indigo', Persicaria tinctoria (see natural dyes section) that can be grown here in the summer months. Amazingly, although it is from a completely different family of plants, it has the same chemistry as Indigofera (the tropical Indian Indigo plant) and as Woad, and you require less quantity of fresh leaf from the Persicaria. If you are interested in historical accuracy for northern Europe, however, you should grow Woad.
There is a fascinating book all about the history of the different forms of Indigo and how they are still used in different parts of the world entitled 'Indigo' by Jenny Balfour-Paul, available from our books section

    5 small plugs  for £8.50 available in spring

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Our Price: £8.50







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