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Toxic parts

Many members of this plant family contain a liver-damaging alkaloid and so internal usage is inadvisable[1].

Edible uses


Used as a vegetable[2]. No further details are given. A red dye obtained from the roots is used as a food colouring[1].

Unknown part


Material uses

A red dye is obtained from the roots[3][4][5], it is used by pharmacists as well as in perfumes and to stain wood or marble[6][1]. The dye is also used in thermometers[6] and as a litmus to test for acids and alkalines[7]. It can make wood look like rosewood or mahogany[8][7].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The root is antibacterial, antipruritic, astringent and vulnerary[1].It is used externally in the treatment of varicose veins, indolent ulcers, bed sores and itching rashes[1]. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use[1].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Division in spring. Fairly easy, they can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Basal cuttings of new growth in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long and pot them up into individual pots in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse. They should root well within a few weeks and can be planted out in the summer[K].

Root cuttings in late winter[9].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Alkanna tinctoria. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil[10] in sun or partial shade[1]. Dislikes acid soils[10] but thrives in alkaline soils[1]. A very drought tolerant plant when established[9], succeeding in a hot dry position[11], it is a useful plant for dry sandy or alkaline soils[1].

Plants are hardy to about -10°c[11].

This species is occasionally cultivated as a dye plant[12]. One report says that it is cultivated for its seed[13].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Alkanna tinctoria. 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 Alkanna tinctoria.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Alkanna tinctoria
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
  4. ? 4.04.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  6. ? Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  7. ? Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  9. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
  12. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  13. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  14. ? Polunin. O. Flowers of Greece and the Balkans. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-217626-9 (1980-00-00)

Facts about "Alkanna tinctoria"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyBoraginaceae +
Belongs to genusAlkanna +
Has binomial nameAlkanna tinctoria +
Has common nameAlkanet +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Leaves +
Has edible useColouring + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure +, High wind + and Drought +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useDye + and Litmus +
Has mature height0.2 +
Has mature width0.25 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntibacterial +, Antipruritic +, Astringent + and Vulnerary +
Has search namealkanna tinctoria + and alkanet +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceNeutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameAlkanna tinctoria +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria +, Alkanna tinctoria + and Alkanna tinctoria +