The Madder File?

Madder is the English name of Rubia tinctorum. Other language names are:

  • French – Garance (Warencia)
  • German – Krapp
  • Dutch – Meekrap
  • Italian – Robbia
  • Spanish – Rubia
  • Danish – Krap
  • Swedish – Krapp
  • Turkish – Koekboya

Throughout the year this file will be added to as knowledge and information is gained – based on my own results and experiments.

There is no shortage of information available on the internet – some good some based on chemistry and some pulled out of what seems like fresh air. Hopefully what is gained here will be sound and based on valid experiments.

Books used so far …

  • CANNON John and Margaret Dye plants and dyeing 1994 (London) The Herbert Press
  • DEAN Jenny The Craft of Natural Dyeing 1994 Search Press
  • LAMBERT Eva The complete Guide to Natural Dyeing 2010 Search Press
  • MELVIN Helen Colours of the Earth 2005 (N Wales) self published

Notes on the dye chemicals in Madder

Over 35 Anthraquinoid compounds are extractable from the roots, although many are not directly usable as colourants. Recent research has shown significant evidence confirming the primary anthraquinone components in Rubia tinctorum roots as the glycosides ruberythric acid and lucidin primeveroside; the majority of literature has pointed to alizarin as the major anthraquinone present, and whilst it does occur in the plant, it is in much lower concentrations than its glycoside.