Woad - Isatis tinctura:
This plant may grow to around three feet, and has elongated leaves. It flowers late
spring or early summer with compact and small yellow buds.
The plant is native to northern European countries, and is a biannual. It grows
readily, and self-seeds eagerly.
No culinary uses.
Medicinal Uses in Folklore:
I am not aware of any.
Scanning the Scientific Literature:
No results found in a search.
The yellow flowers of woad may be gathered and made into a dye which is blue in color,
a hue not dissimilar to indigo. Due to various factors, indigo supplanted
woad as a dying agent of choice even in areas where woad is a native. A large quantity
of woad flowers are required to make a small amount of dye.
The ancient Picts of Scotland were reported by the Roman chroniclers as having gone into
battle naked except for designs created from woad dye which were painted over their
bodies. It was thought that they so attired themselves so as to terrify their
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Last Updated: March 7, 1999.