The New International Encyclopædia/Canaigre

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CANAIGRE, kȧ-nā′gẽr (Fr.) (Rumex hymenosepalus). A tannin-producing plant related to the docks and quite resembling the sour dock. It grows wild in the southwestern United States. The stem is nearly smooth, often reddish in color, grows from one to three feet high, and terminates in a branched flower-stalk. The leaves vary from about 2 to 16 inches in length. The roots are tuberous, somewhat resembling small sweet potatoes, and are clustered in an upright position 3 to 12 inches below the surface of the ground. The value of the plant consists in the amount of tannin contained in the roots. The tannin content in the air-dried tubers varies from about 10 to 35 per cent., a quantity exceeding that in any other tannin-producing plant. The rapid decrease in the supply of wild canaigre has caused its culture to be undertaken during recent years in the Southwest, where some extensive plantations have been established. It is propagated mainly from the roots, one ton being required to plant an acre. The land is prepared and cultivated as for other root crops. Harvesting may begin after the plant has made its full period of growth, but it has been found that the percentage of tannin increases as the roots lie dormant in the ground. In the wild state the plant makes its growth during the winter and early spring, and by early June has seeded and the tops are dead. About fifteen tons of roots per acre is an average yield. The preparation for the market consists in slicing the roots and drying them in the sun. The extract obtained is especially adapted for tanning leather for uppers, fine saddlery, etc.