grows to a height of 60–100 cm (2.0–3.3 ft), and is bristly or hairy all over the stems and leaves; the leaves are alternate, simple, and 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are complete, perfect with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. Flowers are
most often blue, but pink and white flowered types are also cultivated. The blue flower is genetically dominant over the white flower The flowers arise along scorpioid cymes to form large floral displays with multiple flowers blooming simultaneously, suggesting that borage has a high degree of geitonogamy (intra-plant pollination). It has an indeterminate growth habit which may lead to prolific spreading. In temperate climate such as in the UK, its flowering season is relatively long, from June to September. In milder climates, borage will bloom continuously for most of the year.
Some people use borage as a substitute for valerian as it dispels melancholy and induces euphoria. Borage has a beneficial effect on the heart, adrenal glands, kidneys and the entire digestive system. It has been used as a cure for jaundice. This beautiful plant works well as a companion plant as it deters tomato hornworm and Japanese beetles; it also stimulates the growth of strawberries.
April 18, 2018
Seeds April 9 2018
Diseases and Problems:
Traditionally borage was cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. Borage is used as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber-like taste, is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is often used to decorate desserts and cocktails.
Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany, in the Spanish regions of Aragon and Navarre, in the Greek island of Crete and in the northern Italian region of Liguria. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is the Green Sauce (Grüne Soße) made in Frankfurt. In Italian Liguria, borage is commonly used as a filling of the traditional pasta ravioli and pansoti. It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland.
Borage is traditionally used as a garnish in the Pimms Cup cocktail, but is nowadays often replaced by a long sliver of cucumber peel or by mint. It is also one of the key “Botanical” flavourings in Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin.
Traditionally, Borago officinalis has been used in hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, such as gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).
Naturopathic practitioners use borage for regulation of metabolism and the hormonal system, and consider it to be a good remedy for PMS and menopause symptoms such as the hot flush.[dubious – discuss] The flowers can be prepared in infusion.
One case of status epilepticus has been reported that was associated with borage oil ingestion.
A methanol extract of borage has shown strong amoebicidal activity in vitro. The 50% inhibitory concentration (LD50) of the extract against Entamoeba histolytica was 33 µg/mL.
Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides say that borage was the “Nepenthe” mentioned in Homer, which caused forgetfulness when mixed with wine.
Francis Bacon thought that borage had “an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholie.” John Gerard’s Herball mentions an old verse concerning the plant: “Ego Borago, Gaudia semper ago (I, Borage, bring always courage)”. He states that “Those of our time do use the flowers in sallads to exhilerate and make the mind glad. There be also many things made of these used everywhere for the comfort of the heart, for the driving away of sorrow and increasing the joy of the minde. The leaves and floures of Borage put into wine make men and women glad and merry and drive away all sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy, as Dioscorides and Pliny affirme. Syrup made of the floures of Borage comforteth the heart, purgeth melancholy and quieteth the phrenticke and lunaticke person. The leaves eaten raw ingender good bloud, especially in those that have been lately sicke.”
Plant the large seeds in your garden in late spring. A fresh crop of plants can be planted in late summer for bloom in autumn.
Single Plants: 35cm (1′ 1″) each way (minimum)
Rows: 30cm (11″) with 60cm (1′ 11″) row gap (minimum)
Borage is used in companion planting. It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries. It is also said to be a good companion plant to tomatoes because it confuses the mother moths of tomato hornworms or manduca looking for a place to lay their eggs. Claims that it improves tomato growth and makes them taste better remain unsubstantiated.