Common Names: Krapp. Dyers Madder. Robbia.(French) Garance.
Habitat: Southern Europe, including southern Britain, and Mediterranean countries.
Plant Description: The stalks of the Madder are so weak that they often lie along the ground, preventing the plant from rising to its maximum height of 8 feet. The stalks are prickly, and the whorls of leaves at the joints have spines along the midrib on the underside, a feature that the French turn to advantage by using them for polishing metal-work. The herb is used as fodder for animals. The flower-shoots spring from the joints in pairs, the loose spikes of yellow, starry flowers blooming only in the second or third year,in June.
The thick, fleshy fibres that compose the perennial are about 1/4 inch thick, and from their joining, or head, side roots run under the surface of the ground for some distance, sending up shoots. The main and side-roots are dried separately, their products being regarded as different, that of a young, parent root being the best. They are covered with a blackish rind, beneath which they are reddish, with a pale yellow pith. In France, after drying, the outer layer is threshed off and powdered and packed separately as an inferior product called mall.
Plant Part Used: Root.
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