Borage is a commonly grown plant found in many kitchen gardens throughout Europe and North America. It can be grown as decoration and has historically been consumed in parts of salads and drinks.
The scientific name of Borage is Borago officinalis. This plant is also known as starflower, due to the shape of its flowers. The name Borage, which comes from the Latin Borago may come from “corago,” with “cor” meaning “the heart” and “ago” meaning “I bring.” It references the cordial and pleasant effect the plant has, decreasing stress.
When you pick the leaves of Borage, you should do so while they are young and tender. These can then be used in dishes such as salads. You should be careful with picking the leaves though, as some people are prone to contact dermatitis from touching them.
You can freeze the flowers of the Borage plant but not the leaves. They can then be used in drinks such as Borage lemonade. The flowers can also be preserved by crystallizing them. The leaves cannot be preserved and must be used fresh.
A History of Borage
Borage has been used for many years as a foodstuff. It is natively grown in areas throughout the Mediterranean, although it has spread throughout Europe and North America.
During the early nineteenth century, the plant was used in salads, with young leaves considered especially good in them. Many people took the blossoms and preserved them by candying them.
What Does Borage Flower Look Like?
The Borage plant is characterized by star-shaped flowers that have black anthers that protrude from them during the summer months. These plants tend to grow two to three feet tall. The flowers are generally a sky-blue to medium-blue color, although some variants of the plant have pink or white flowers.
The Borage bush has numerous leafy branches, and the stems are hollow, which makes them rather fragile. The Borage stems are covered with stiff hairs that are white in color. The gray-green leaves are also covered in hairs.
There is one main species of Borage, but it has some variety, largely in the colors of flowers that it produces. An example is Borage Alba, which is also known as white borage.
This plant features intensely white blooms, and the stalks of the plant tend to be a little sturdier. Alba blooms later in the season than Common Borage, which is the regular blue variant.
Growing Season and Region
In the United States, Borage is hardy through to zone 6, with a temperature of 4 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant is originally from Aleppo, although it is now found in gardens around the world, including areas of the United Kingdom and the United States. The plant should be planted generally during March and April.
Borage likes to be grown in sunny locations although it will grow just about anywhere including areas of partial shade. One thing that’s important to know about planting it is that it needs plenty of space. As the plant grows, it’s fragile stems may need to be staked to keep them from toppling over.
Borage should be grown in an area that is kept moist. The soil should be well-aerated, and you should mulch the area to keep weeds down and keep the soil moist.
Creeping Borage is a cousin to Common Borage and is known as Borago pygmaea. This plant sprawls and is rather slower growing compared to Common Borage. It tends to be grown in USDA planting zones 5 and up, and it is a short-lived perennial.
Up Next: Borage Flower Meaning and Symbolism
The A-Z of Garden Flowers. Murdoch: 2005.
Photo credit: PommeGrenade&makamuki0/pixabay.com and PantherMediaSeller/depositphotos.