Look at this glorious thing! A sterling plant for mid March through April flowering when little else lends that lightness to the border. Its primary purpose through history being that of a dye plant, producing the Pictish tribal blues of legend. I often wonder how humans figure that sort of shit out?

“I need to meake mine face bluef George..”

“See yonder plaent, smare it on thouth sface, but drieth the hearb sfirthst”

Isatis does hint at its hidden talent in the blue sheen of its stems and foliage and deep grey seedpods, which dangle like ink drops made matter, to create a rather pretentious analogy.

Isatis is belonging to the Brassicaceae family, evident by its flowers and robust, but airy manner when in flower, but dense compact foliage mound when a juvenile. It is also a biennial/short lived perennial and grows best when sown indoors and grown on to give it the best chance of producing a strong plant, though it will self seed when happy.

Isatis tinctoria provides a nice punch of sunshine early in the year and we grow it in a utility border where it parties with the fresh growth of Globe artichoke, the lush blue spikes of Camassia leichtlinii and the giant feathers of Ferula early on for textural loveliness.


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