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Dyer's alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria), is a herb in the borage family. In Greece there are 15 members of the genus Alkanna, and Alkanna tinctoria is the most widespread. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that starts off in winter as a new leaf rosette, with densely haired, silky leaves, and spreads radial shoots in early spring that form an expanding circle of bright blue flowers on the ground. Common as it may be, it is always a magnificent sight. The pictured bloomed plant was spotted near Agios Nikolaos city, Crete island, Greece.
Alkanet root is primarily used as a natural dyeing agent, and it imparts a ruby red color to natural fibers, wool, wood, stone, lip balm, lipstick, ointments, salve, soap, lotion, and to tint oils, vinegar, tinctures and varnishes. In the past, Alkanet root was also used to improve the appearance of low quality wines and ports, and to give an aged appearance to wine corks, but now, the red-brown food additive E103 (alkannin), is no longer approved for internal use. In soap, Alkanet root will yield shades of pink, blue, and purple, depending upon the amount used, types of oil used, and the alkalinity of the soap.
Spotted on Apr 10, 2016
Submitted on Apr 11, 2016
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