ALKANET (Alkanna tinctoria): Coarse perennial herb native to Eurasia and Africa.
Dye chemicals: anchusic acid, anchusin or alkannin in the thick roots that flake like paper when dried. Used by Middle-Eastern dyers by at least 1750 BC; noted in Britain by 1500 AD.
Best on wool, silk, mohair, not great on cellulose fibers. Not very light- or wash-fast, aided and enhanced with alcohol or ammonia. (Henna was also called ‘alkanet’ in old dye books.)
AKA: Alcan, alchanna, alkannet, alkanne, alkennin, anchusa, anchusine, anchuse tinctoria, borage, bugloss (A. arvensis), dyer’s alkanet, dyer’s bugloss, ox-tongue, puccoon, Spanish bugloss (A. tinctoria), [OE] alkanna, enchusa, alchenna, archenda [Fr] langue de boef, orchanet [It] orcanette, orchanette, alchenne, archende [Sp] alcanna, alcanne, alcaneta, [Ar] al hinna, al-henna. [Pakistan]
Alum mordant: lovely pinks
Copper mordant: muted reds to grayed reds
Soda ash: muted violet to grayed violets
Tartaric acid: grays to browns.