Asperula tinctoria
Common Name: woodruff 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rubiaceae
Native Range: Europe to Russia
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining, alkaline soils in full sun. Tolerant of some shade and most soil types as long as they are well-draining, including poor, dry soils and soils of various pH levels. Can be propagated by seed, which require cold stratification to germinate. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Asperula tinctoria, commonly called dyer's woodruff, is a herbaceous perennial native to dry, rocky hillsides, pastures, and meadows in central and eastern Europe. Mature plants can reach around 1.5' tall with a 2' spread and will form small colonies via underground, spreading rhizomes. The linear to narrowly elliptic leaves can reach up to 1.5" long and are held in whorls along the length of the upright to prostrate stems. Small, white, three-petaled flowers bloom in summer in loose, terminal panicles.

Genus name comes from the diminutive of asper meaning "rough" in reference to the rough stems some species..

The specific epithet tinctoria was applied to plants which were used to make dyes.


No major pest or disease problems have been reported.


Herb gardens, dye gardens, border edges. Where native, allow to naturalize in wildflower meadows, forest margins, and other natural settings. The roots of this plant can be used to make a red dye.