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Madder (Rubia tinctorum)
Climbing evergreen perennial native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe . Hardy to -5 degreees F. The plant is a classic element of the Medieval garden, completely unique, wending its way along the ground or draping on fence or trellis. The yellow, star-like flowers are produced in the second year after which the roots may be dug. Madder root contains the anthraquinone pigment alizarin, which is responsible for its popularity as a fine red dyeplant. (The English “red coats” owed their visability to this plant!) The root is also employed medicinally for treating urinary gravel, dropsy, amenorrhoea and jaundice. Plant prefers very fast draining soil and full sun. It is very drought tolerant and will thrive for weeks in a sunny, well-drained bed without any water at all. Sow seed in fall or spring. Sow 1/2 inch deep and tamp securely, then keep evenly moist and in the sun until germination, which may take up to 3 weeks. The seeds may be sown in pots (3 per pot, thin to the best seedling) or direct seeded at 3 inches apart, then transplant or thin to 1 foot apart. The plant will appreciate a trellis, mainly because this will give you, the gardener, space to cultivate around the plants, which stimulates them. 20 seeds/pkt, certified organically grown
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