E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Isatis tinctoria L.
dyer's woad (asp-of-Jerusalem)
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26287)

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Distribution of Isatis tinctoria
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Species Information

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Biennial or perennial from a stout taproot; stems erect, 0.4-1.2 m tall, simple below, branched above, glabrous, somewhat glaucous.
Basal leaves several, clustered, oblanceolate to elliptic-oblanceolate, long-stalked, toothed or wavy-margined, to 18 cm long, soft-hairy on the margins to sparsely soft-hairy with simple hairs; stem leaves lanceolate to elliptic, unstalked, with ear-like basal lobes, mostly entire, glabrous.
Racemes compound, numerous; flower stalks slender, conspicuously enlarged below flowers, usually reflexed; petals yellow, about 3.5 mm long, spoon-shaped.
Oblong to oblong-oblanceolate, 8-18 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, glabrous, blackish; fruiting stalks somewhat shorter than the silicles; seeds yellowish, ellipsoidal, about 3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides and waste places in the lowland and montane zones; rare in SW and SE BC, known only from the Duncan and Nelson areas; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References