There are no edible uses listed for Rubia tinctorum.
A very good quality red dye is obtained from the roots. Some reports say that 2 year old roots are used in the spring and autumn
whilst others say that 3 year old roots are used
. The roots can be dried for later use
. The dye can also be extracted from the leaves
. This dye is also used medicinally
The leaves and stem are prickly, the whorls of leaves having spines along the midrib on the underside
. This feature enables them to be used for polishing metalwork
The root is aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic and emmenagogue
. It is taken internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder stones
. The root is seldom used in herbal medicine but is said to be effective in the treatment of amenorrhoea, dropsy and jaundice
. The roots are harvested in the autumn from plants that are at least 3 years old. They are peeled and then dried
When taken internally the root imparts a red colour to the milk, urine and bones, especially the bones of young animals, and it is used in osteopathic investigations
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate
. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for the first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
Division in spring or at any time in the growing season if the divisions are kept well watered until established
. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rubia tinctorum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers a light sandy soil in full sun
. Plants grown in fertile well-limed soils produce more pigment in the root
This plant was at one time widely cultivated for the red dye obtained from its roots, this dye is now manufactured chemically. However, it is still cultivated in Europe as a medicinal dye plant.
The plant produces many side roots that can travel just under the surface of the soil for some distance before sending up new shoots.
This species is closely related to R. peregrina
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Rubia tinctorum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Rubia tinctorum.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
- Strong wind
- Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
? 2.02.12.22.126.96.36.199.72.8 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 3.03.13.23.33.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
? 5.05.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
? 6.06.16.26.188.8.131.52.76.8 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
? 7.07.1 Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
? 8.08.1 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
? 9.09.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
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