One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Eurasian plant of the borage family, typically having a hairy stem and blue flowers.
Anchusa and other genera, family Boraginaceae: several species, including the European A. officinalis
- ‘Old English names are (dyer's) alkanet and orcanet.’
- ‘One of the plants we saw here was green alkanet, Pentaglottis sempervirens’
- ‘Well-known dye-plants are included, among them dyer's alkanet, elderberry, henna, indigo, madder and saffron, and each plant is illustrated in colour.’
- ‘A fine color is obtained by previously washing the alkanet with water and then thoroughly drying it before suspending it in the fat or oil.’
- ‘She might have finished the look with saffron eye shadow and lip balm tinted with ocher and alkanet root.’
Middle English: from colloquial Arabic al-ḥannat (classical Arabic al-ḥinnā') ‘the henna shrub’.
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