Alkanna tinctoria (L.)Tausch, 1824
Common names: Alkanet, Orchanet, Dyers' bugloss [En], Orcanette tinctoriale, Orcanette des teinturiers [Fr], Alkanna, Alkannawurzel [De], Alkanetta [It], Onoquiles, Orcaneta, Palomilla de tintes [Es], Αλκάνη [Gr], Havacıva, Kök boya [Tu]
Yamanlar, İZMİR ● Turkey
Description: Perennial herb, with procumbent to ascending stems, setose to hispid, (5-) 10-20 (-25) cm tall.
The basal leaves are oblong-linear, 30-10 (150) x 5-10 (15) mm; the lower cauline leaves, somewhat shorter than basal, cordate at base, the upper cauline elliptic-ovate, entire, acute to subacute.
The root is dark red of blackish appearance externally but blue-red inside, with a whitish core.
The bracts are oblong to lanceolate, 6-10 (15) x 1-5mm. Calyx oblong-lanceolate, 5-7 x1.5-2 mm in flower, increasing to 7-12 mm in fruit, ± densely covered with setiform hispid hairs. The corolla are blue 6-8 (-9) mm in diameter (ssp. tinctoria) or white 8-12 mm in diameter (ssp. tripolitana), glabrous, tube somewhat longer than the calyx, limb 6-10(-12) mm in diameter, lobes rounded, somewhat spathulate. The anthers are c. 1 mm long, the filaments somewhat shorter than the anthers. The nutlets are c. 2 mm in diameter, ± obconic, irregularly reticulate to tuberculate.
Biology: Flowering from February to May.
Habitat: Maritime sands, uncultivated ground, rocky places, calcareous soils and pine forests.
Distribution: Mediterranean species, from Morocco and Spain up to Iran and Caucasus.
Uses: The root produces a fine red colouring material which has been used as a cloth dye and to give colour to tinctures, vegetable oils, medicines, perfumes, wines, varnishes, etc. It is used to stain wood or marble. It can make wood look like rosewood or mahogany. It was often used to improve the appearance of poor grades of port and similar wines, and to give the appearance of age to port wine corks. It is commonly used today as a food colouring E103 (alkannin).
Jafri S.M.H. & El-Gadi A., 1979. Flora of Libya: Family Boraginaceae. No. 68. Al-Fateh University, Faculty of Sciences, pp: 76-78.
Wikipedia, Alkanna tinctoria
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