Cota ‘Navajo Tea or Greenthread’

Navajo Tea is the common name for species of Thelesperma.  Navajo Tea is easy to grow and I’ve had luck growing and transplanting it or growing it straight in the soil.  It grows from taproots and often plants that have main taproots don’t enjoy being transplanted, so take care if transplanting and give them lots of water. 

The foliage is thin and grass-like, so be careful when weeding around them.  These plants enjoy sun and like all seeds, should be kept moist while the seed is germinating.  Once growing, they don’t require as much water and are short-lived perennials.

The great thing about this historic/native dye plant, is that it is useful for tea and dye!  For tea, harvest the tops of the plants before the buds have opened, leaving at least 2 inches of plant to regrow.  The blooms and plant can be harvested while blooming, but the flavor is said to be slightly bitter.  Use the tea fresh or dried.  It contains anti-inflammatory flavonoid compound luteolin. 

The flowers can be used for dye, fresh or dry.  They will give golden yellows on wool, and with an alkaline bath of soda ash, they will give a bright juicy orange.