Madder

Madder

About Madder

Rubia is a genus of the madder family Rubiaceae, which contains about 80 species of perennial scrambling or climbing herbs and sub-shrubs native to the Old World, Africa, temperate Asia and America. The genus and its best known species are also known as Madder, Rubia tinctorum (Common Madder), Rubia peregrina (Wild Madder), and Rubia cordifolia (Munjeet or Indian Madder). The Common Madder can grow up to 1.5 m in height. The evergreen leaves are 510 cm long and 23 cm broad, produced in whorls of 47 starlike around the central stem. It climbs with tiny hooks at the leaves and stems. The flowers are small (35 mm across), with five pale yellow petals, in dense racemes, and appear from June to August, followed by small (46 mm diameter) red to black berries. The roots can be over a metre long, up to 12 mm thick and the source of red dyes known as rose madder and Turkey red. It prefers loamy soils (sand and clay soil) with a constant level of moisture.