Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
(Alkanna), a genus of perennial, mostly rough-haired herbs of the Boraginaceae family. The blossoms are in spiral racemes. There are 40 species, found primarily in the Mediterranean area, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The roots of the Alkanna tinctoria contain a brown-violet dyeing substance that reacts with alkalies and ammonia. The alcoholic extract from alkanet roots is used in microscopic doses as a reagent with oils and fats; it is also sometimes used to color wines, food products, wool, and silk.