Syn.: Anchusa tinctoria L., Anchusa pusztarum Borbás, Alkanna lehmannii (Tineo in Guss.) DC., Baphorhiza tinctoria (L.) Link, Buglossum tinctorium Lam., Lithospermum tinctorium L.
Family: Boraginaceae Juss.

Alkanna tinctoria

Distribution: Mediterranean species, it extends into the southern part of central Europe – from Morocco and Spain through Italy, Tunisia and the Balkan Peninsula to Asia Minor, Israel and Jordan, northward to Hungary and southern Slovakia.

Ecology: It grows on sandy and rocky places. It blooms from May to June.

Description: Perennial herb, 10–20(–30) cm tall, setose-hispid. Stem procumbent or ascending, branched, eglandular. Basal leaves linear-lanceolate, 6–15 cm long and 7–15 mm wide, cauline leaves alternate, sessile, oblong-linear, cordate at base. Flowers in terminal, bracteate cymes; bracts not or slightly longer than calyx, oblong-lanceolate; calyx lobed almost to the base, 4–6 mm long; corolla with more or less cylindrical tube and limb, blue, glabrous outside, tube as long as or slightly longer than calyx, limb 6–8 mm in diameter. The fruits are nutlets, 2 mm in diameter.

Threat and protection: The Dyer’s Alkanet is protected by law in Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia.

Use: This plant has been used in the dyeing of textiles, and as colorant in food and cosmetics.

Alkanna tinctoriaAlkanna tinctoria
Alkanna tinctoria

These images were taken in Slovakia, Čenkov (June 12, 2004).