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a. A European perennial herb (Alkanna tinctoria) having cymes of blue flowers and red roots.
b. The root of this plant or the red dye extracted from the root.
2. Any of various hairy plants of the Eurasian genus Anchusa, having blue or violet flowers grouped on elongated cymes.
[Middle English, from Old Spanish alcaneta, diminutive of alcana, henna, from Medieval Latin alchanna, from Arabic al-ḥinnā', the henna : al-, the + ḥinnā', henna; see henna.]
1. (Plants) a European boraginaceous plant, Alkanna tinctoria, the roots of which yield a red dye
2. (Dyeing) Also called: anchusin or alkannin the dye obtained from this plant
3. (Plants) any of certain hairy blue-flowered Old World plants of the boraginaceous genus Anchusa (or Pentaglottis), such as A. sempervirens of Europe. See also bugloss
4. (Plants) another name for puccoon1
[C14: from Spanish alcaneta, diminutive of alcana henna, from Medieval Latin alchanna, from Arabic al the + hinnā' henna]
1. a European plant, Alkanna tinctoria, of the borage family.
2. the root of this plant, yielding a red dye.
3. the dye itself.
4. any of several related plants cultivated for red dye or as an ornamental.
[1300–50; Middle English < Old Spanish alcaneta]