A Community Website by Lopez Island
Looking for Madder root- Rubia Tinctorum (Horticulture and Forestry)
Lopez Island
May 26, 2020
Posted by Alannya Sowers, Lopez Island

Hello there-
I am trying to gauge the likelihood of being able to forage (responsibly and sustainably) for this plant here on the island. It goes by the name of Rubia Tinctorum but is more commonly known as rose madder or common madder.

After researching it, the island seems to have ideal growing conditions for some flourishing patches. It's an evergreen perennial that loves loamy soils. Its root makes a beautiful red dye bath that has been used for ages.Unfortunately, it would take me at least the next three years to grow a harvest of my own. So I figured I would reach out to see if anyone may know of any healthy stands around the area.
Any tips would be appreciated!



Alannya Sowers: Looking for Madder root- Rubia Tinctorum

Ruth, I've never heard of that website before. I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip!
Alannya Sowers: Looking for Madder root- Rubia Tinctorum

Thank you Elizabeth! That is actually great advice. I wouldn't have thought to try and dye with cleaver but I do see it everywhere. Madder appealed to me because in all of my experience plant dying, I've never achieved such a vibrant color. But i'm still happy to play with all the colors available around me :)
Ruth Van Doren: Looking for Madder root- Rubia Tinctorum

You might try Maiwa website. I know they sell the dye powder and may be able to tell you where it grows.
Elizabeth Valluzzi: Looking for Madder root- Rubia Tinctorum


Sadly madder is not wild in these parts (but maybe somewhere else in the NW?? I’ve never seen it but maybe someone has!) so no luck in that area. It’s such a cool plant! BUT, it has a very close relative, cleavers / bedstraw that you.... Read all