Woad – Isatis tinctoria

Woad has a high concentration of indigo in its leaves. Though not as saturated as indigo, it provided blue hues to ancient Celts and Vikings. The sky blue of this medieval tapestry was dyed with woad. More to come on this fascinating plant. 

  • Giobert, G. (1813). Traité sur le pastel et l’extraction de son indigo. A Paris: De l’imprimerie Impériale.
  • Balfour-Paul, J. (2011). Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans. Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books.
  • Note that woad is considered an invasive species in some areas of North America including parts of the West Coast. Luckily for us, it is an appropriate plant for the Midwest.

The Unicorn is Found, one in a series of seven tapestries, 1495-1505. Silver, silk and gilt wefts on tapestry. The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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