Alkanet CI Natural Red 20 Alkanna tinctoria Boraginaceae

Several forms of anchusa (also known as alkanna, alcanea, and bugloss) grow wild in Europe, including Britain. A red dye from the root was popular with Egyptians in textile dyeing and also used for cosmetics in Greece and Rome.

It is a plant that grows to about 2 feet high with very hairy stems and large forget-me-not type flowers that bloom in June.

Anchusa was cultivated in Europe specifically as a dye plant, but North American settlers also used it for medicinal purposes. However madder was a much more suitable and fast red dyestuff and was used for dyeing by European settlers in preference to anchusa. However the latter was probably used by the native Indians.

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