The red wild madder is part of the common madder (Rubiatinctorum), from which madder paint (Alizarine) can be extracted. This plant can reach a height of up to 2m and its stem has small prickles. Madder’s blossoms are very small and of a green-yellowish colour.
Up 15 to 20 tons of fresh roots can be harvested from one hectare.
The harvest begins after 3 to 4 years of growing in autumn. The roots are laid bare and dried for 15 days out in the open. Afterwards, the thin skin layer is removed and the roots are ground.
The product is not only used in the paint industry but also in the pharmaceutical production.
The madder root and its main dye, alizarin, were already used in ancient Egypt for coloring.
Alizarine got famous by the German-red-dyeing. With this technique, you got brilliant and authentically colours for centuries. Even today hydroxyl anthra quinones play important role in the textile dyeing.
The madder flowers themselves, are very small and greenish-yellow in color. They are used both in the paint industry, as well as for drug production.