Dyer's woad
Isatis tinctoria L.


Isatis tinctoria is a biennial member of the mustard family that can grow from 1-4 ft. (0.3-1.2 m) tall.
First years growth is represented by a rosette of hairy, bluish-green leaves 1.5-7 in. (3.7-18 cm) long. Stem leaves are lance-shaped and alternate with a cream colored mid-rib.
Flat-topped yellow flowers with four spoon shaped petals appear in small clusters at the top of the stems. Flowering occurs in spring to late summer.
Seed pods are black or purplish, flattened, 0.4 in. (0.9 cm) long, 0.25 in. (0.6 cm) wide and hang from short stalks at the ends of the stems.
Ecological Threat
Isatis tinctoria occurs in areas with poor, dry soils such as roadsides, rangelands and open forests. Isatis tinctoria is native to central Asia and northern Russia and was introduced to North America in the early 1900’s as a contaminant in alfalfa seed.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Capparales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Isatis
Subject: Isatis tinctoria L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
Dyers woad


Plants - Forbs/Herbs