madder

madder1
/mad"euhr/, n.
1. any plant of the genus Rubia, esp. the climbing R. tinctorum, of Europe, having open clusters of small, yellowish flowers. Cf. madder family.
2. the root of this plant, formerly used in dyeing.
3. the dye or coloring matter itself.
4. a color produced by such a dye.
[bef. 1000; ME mad(d)er, OE maed(e)re; c. ON mathra, OHG matara]
madder2
/mad"euhr/, adj.
comparative of mad.

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plant
also called  dyer's madder 

      any of several species of plants belonging to the genus Rubia of the madder family, Rubiaceae. Rubia tinctorum and R. peregrina are native European plants, and R. cordifolia is native to the hilly districts of India and Java. Rubia is a genus of about 60 species; its members are characterized by lance-shaped leaves that grow in whorls and by small yellowish flowers that grow in clusters.

      The common madder (R. tinctorum) and R. cordifolia were formerly cultivated for a red dye, alizarin, that was obtained from the ground-up roots of these plants. This dye was used for cloth and could be prepared and applied in such a way as to yield pink and purple shades as well as red. The dye properties of the madder root appear to have been known from the earliest historical times; cloth dyed with madder has been found on ancient Egyptian mummies, and madder was used for dying the cloaks of Libyan women in the time of Herodotus (5th century BC). Madder was also employed as a medicinal treatment for amenorrhea (failure to menstruate) in ancient and medieval times. Another property of alizarin is that it colours red the bones of animals that feed upon madder. This property was used by 19th-century physiologists to trace the way in which bone develops and to study the functions of the various types of cells in growing bone. In the 1860s a way was found to manufacture alizarin synthetically, and so the once-extensive use of madder as a source of alizarin dye has now practically disappeared.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Madder — Mad der (m[a^]d d[ e]r), n. [OE. mader, AS. m[ae]dere; akin to Icel. ma[eth]ra.] (Bot.) A plant of the genus {Rubia} ({Rubia tinctorum}). The root is much used in dyeing red, and formerly was used in medicine. It is cultivated in France and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • madder — (n.) type of plant (in modern use Rubia tinctorum) used for making dyes, O.E. mædere, from PIE *modhro dye plant (Cf. O.N. maðra, O.H.G. matara madder, Pol. modry, Czech modry blue ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • madder — madder1 [mad′ər] n. [ME mader < OE mædere, akin to ON mathra, Norw modra < IE base * modhro , dye plant > Czech modrý, blue] 1. any of a genus (Rubia) of plants of the madder family, with petals fused to form a funnel shaped corolla; esp …   English World dictionary

  • madder — ► NOUN ▪ a red dye or pigment obtained from the roots of a plant. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • Madder — Taxobox name = Madder image width = 250px image caption = Common Madder ( Rubia tinctorum ) regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo = Gentianales familia = Rubiaceae tribus = Rubieae genus = Rubia genus authority = L …   Wikipedia

  • madder — noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English mædere; akin to Old High German matara madder Date: before 12th century 1. a Eurasian herb (Rubia tinctorum of the family Rubiaceae, the madder family) with whorled leaves and small yellowish… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • madder — 1. The dried and powdered root of Rubia tinctorum (family Rubiaceae); it contains several glycosides that upon fermentation give the red dyes alizarin and purpurin. When m. (or alizarin) is fed to young animals, the calcium in newly deposited… …   Medical dictionary

  • madder — mad·der || mædÉ™(r) n. herbaceous climbing plant which bears clusters of yellow flowers; root of the madder plant; red dye extracted from the madder root; red or reddish orange color mæd adj. crazy, insane; furious, angry …   English contemporary dictionary

  • madder — dažinė raudė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Raudinių šeimos dažinis, dekoratyvinis, vaistinis augalas (Rubia tinctorum), paplitęs pietvakarių Azijoje ir pietų Europoje. atitikmenys: lot. Rubia tinctorum angl. dyer s madder; Indian madde;… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Madder — Mad Mad, a. [Compar. {Madder}; superl. {Maddest}.] [AS. gem?d, gem[=a]d, mad; akin to OS. gem?d foolish, OHG. gameit, Icel. mei?a to hurt, Goth. gam[ a]ids weak, broken. ?.] 1. Disordered in intellect; crazy; insane. [1913 Webster] I have heard… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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