In English: Madder /ˈmadə/
In German: Krapp
In Fench: Garance    

Madder was the most valuable dye plant in Persia and the world. It is found (as Rubia tinctorum L) in Persia in the Greater Caucasian Mountains, in Absheron peninsular, in Kur (Kura)-Araz (Aras), Lenkaran (Lenkoran) lowlands, in Ganykh-Agrichay valley, also in Nakhchyvan. It is common at the foot of mountains, on riversides, along the fences in villages, and also in weedy areas. There is also another kind of madder growing in Persia, which is called Rubia Iberica Fisch.

Madder is a low creeping plant that will cover an area of ground quite quickly. It does not need a great deal of looking after apart from the occasional weeding. The plant matures at 5 years old. The flowers are small and yellow/green in colour. The berries are dark when ripe and can be used as seed stock to multiply the crop.

All parts of the madder plant contain dye substance the pigment, alizarin (The word alizarin ultimately derives from the Arabic al-usara, juice), but the roots have the largest concentration. The plant should be pulled from the ground after loosening the soil. The leaves can then be stripped of the plant and the roots put in a sheltered place to dry out. When the roots are dry, it is ground up into a powder. The powder produced bright red color if it is soaked overnight, then steeped briefly at around 65 degrees centigrade (150°F). It also yields the so-called "second red," which is the color of cantaloupe flesh. For the first red, the wet, mordanted yarn is gently "cooked" below a simmer till the dyer sees the color he wants; then it is carefully rinsed in water containing oak ash - whose alkalinity brightens the color - and dried. The dye is fixed to the cloth with help of a mordant. Dyeing without any mordant will give us brownish brick red color.

The size and age of the root can change the resultant color. The smaller and younger root produces a red that tends towards pink in hue. The older and larger root produces a much browner red.