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Isatis tinctoria

Woad

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Isatis tinctoria
  • Common name: Woad
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Plant Type: Biennial, Herb
Flower colour:

Yellow

Foliage colour:

Green

Woad is a European native wildflower, traditionally used as a clothing dye and body paint. The dye is made from the leaves, which are collected from flowering stems and dried in the sun. Once dry, the leaves are ground into paste and left to ferment. The fermented leaves are then moulded into cakes, mixed with water and fermented again. The final step is to infuse the twice-fermented leaves with lime water. The dye is blue and used in place of indigo.

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Biennial, woad develops leaf rosettes and deep roots in its first year, and flowers in its second year, before setting seed and dying. Flowers appear in loose racemes, are yellow and develop into large, flat, blue-black seedheads.

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Woad is a member of the cabbage family and therefore should be rotated to prevent the build up of diseases, including club root.

How to grow Isatis tinctoria

  • Plant size

    2m height

    50cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full sun

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do not Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

Isatis tinctoria and wildlife

Isatis tinctoria is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects and other pollinators. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Attractive to Bees

Attractive to Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Does not attract Butterflies​/​Moths

Attractive to Other pollinators

Is Isatis tinctoria poisonous?

Isatis tinctoria has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Isatis tinctoria