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Borage Borago officinalis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Borago advena
  • Borago aspera
  • Borago hortensis
Phonetic Spelling
bor-AY-go oh-fish-ih-NAH-liss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Borago officinalis is an annual plant boasting bright blue flowers.  Its wrinkled, dull gray-green leaves that are covered with bristly hairs are edible.  They can be eaten raw or cooked in the same manner as spinach, but have the taste and scent of a salty cucumber.  Used as an herb or added to a salad.  It's best to chop the leaves up finely as the hairy leaves do not leave a pleasant feeling in the mouth.  Once dried, the leaves lose their flavor.  

The stems are also flavorful and can be used once dried for flavoring beverages.  

It grows at its best in full sun, but will not be adversely affected by light shade.  Will do well in all types of soil, including nutritionally poor soil.  

The flowers are used for creating a blue dye.  Once added to an acid, it will turn pink.

For propagating, you can grow from seed: the plant is also self-seeding and will remain in your garden year after year.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  The plant contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  These may cause liver damage and cancer when this plant is a major part of your diet.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#full sun#annual#blue#drought tolerant#blue flowers#deer resistant#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#full sun#annual#blue#drought tolerant#blue flowers#deer resistant#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Borago
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees and other wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Flowers, leaves (edible flower; leaves in salads, teas, and sandwiches)
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Edible, wrinkled, dull gray-green leaves grow up to 6" long. Taste like cucumber. The leaves are covered with bristly hairs.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The branched stems are covered with bristly hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Tannins, mucilage
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves