Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Woad, Dyer's Woad
Isatis tinctoria

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Isatis (EYE-sat-iss) (Info)
Species: tinctoria (tink-TOR-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Isatis indigotica

One vendor has this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Baa
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No positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral giftgas On May 5, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I received several thousand seeds from a friend in Colorado recently...I am expecting good things from this plant. I plan to make Indigo, and redye a dozen or so pair of Levis "shrink to fit" jeans, which ALSO were originally died with Indigo.

Negative caron On Nov 25, 2004, caron from Woodland Park, CO (Zone 4b) wrote:

Colorado Class A Noxious Weed. Mandatory eradication.
All locations of this plant in Colorado should be immediately reported to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Neutral Baa On Sep 9, 2001, Baa wrote:

A must for those Romano-British historical re-enactments, playing Braveheart or for just frightening off the neighbours in general.

Isatis tinctoria is probably one of the most well know dye plants we have. The leaves produce a blue dye when boiled or fermented with ammonia or an olive green when mixed with ferrous sulphate.

A once important dye crop up until the late 1800's and was also used to 'fix' other dyes which were likely to fade quickly, particulary indigo which it eventually took second place to. It was also used as an ointment for ulcers and inflammations.

It is a biennial or occasionaly short lived perennial plant from Southern Europe, although it has been widely grown all over Europe, Asia and North Africa and has natrualised where happy.

Flowers June - August, has 4 bright yellow petals shaped into a cross, a honey scent and the tear shaped, dark purple seeds hang loosely on the stem.

It loves well drained soils in full sun. It's also a heavy feeder and if grown too long in one spot, it will rob the soil of all its goodness.

This is on the noxious weed lists in some US states and can be very invasive in other regions.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

West Point, Nebraska

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