Woad is a biennial to perennial plant native to southeastern Europe. It forms a rosette of leaves in the first year, which spawns a flowering stalk in the following season. Since prehistoric times, the leaves have been used as a natural dye. Its use has spread throughout most of Europe and to parts of Asia. Woad seeds have been found in Neolithic caves in France and ancient textiles dyed with woad have been found in Austria. Woad?s dye is much like indigo. However, it is less concentrated and less corrosive to fabric and thread. Today, a revitalized interest in woad has developed because it is a biodegradable alternative to synthetic dyes. It is now being used in inks such as those used for some inkjet printers. Additional research is being done to look at woad’s cancer-fighting potential. It has also been used for a variety of purposes in Chinese medicine.
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Growing Information: Soak your seeds overnight in water and then plant at a depth of about 1/16″-1/8″. Make sure your soil is well-drained and well-fertilized. Woad prefers full sun and freedom from weeds. Harvest the young leaves as you need them. The seeds can be harvested when the pods turn purple.
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