This coloring agent is reported to have been mentioned by Pliny and was known to the ancients. Alkanet Root is a versatile coloring agent, its color being soluble in both alcohol and turpentine. The roots of this plant should be chopped into pieces before using and then soaked. When it is soaked in linseed oil, it imparts a red color which is useful in coloring Mahogany before French Polishing. It gives a gray color when used with alum as a mordant.