Dyer's Woad

Genus Isatis
Mustard Family (Brassicaceae/Cruciferae)

Woad plants in a field 
                         (Box Elder County, Utah)

Dyer's Woad
(Isatis tinctoria)

In the spring this plant covers many of our roadsides, foothills, and fields with its bright yellow color. It is a native of Europe, but has now invaded and taken over many areas in this country.

Close-up of a woad plant

The plant is a typical mustard, with four petals, four sepals, and six stamens on very tiny flowers. The plant grows 2 or 3 feet tall.

It gets its name from the fact that its seed pods were formerly used to make a dark blue dye after they ripened. Its scientific species name (tinctoria) also has this meaning.