Isatis tinctoria – Common Dyer’s Weed –

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Isatis –

There are about 30 species of annuals, biennials, and perennials, in this genus. They occur on waste ground or rocky sites in dry places in Central and Southern Europe, and in Western and Central Asia. They have oblong to lance shaped, smooth edged or pinnately lobed, stalked basal leaves and smaller, arrow shaped, stalkless stem leaves. Small, 4 petalled, usually yellow flowers are held in loose racemes or panicles, and are attractive to bees. They are ideal for a wild garden.

Grow in moderately fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun. Divide in spring.

I. tinctoria – Common Dyer’s Weed – This vigorous, upright, taprooted, hairless or slightly hairy, short lived perennial or biennial from Southern Europe grows 2-4′ feet tall and 20″ wide. It produces basal rosettes of oblong-lance-shaped, gray-green stalked leaves, to 4″ long, and leafy flowering stems carrying arrow shaped, gray-green stalkless leaves, to 2″ long. In early summer it bears branched panicles, 1 1/4-3″ across, of 4 petalled yellow flowers, 3/8″ across. Good for a herb garden.

Zones 4-8