Borago, also known as Borage is a genus of five species in the family Boraginaceae, native to the Mediterranean region.
These plants usually have long stalks, alternate leaves and attractive star-shaped or bell-shaped flowers. The nectar of the flowers is extremely attractive to bees, so expect to hear the gentle, but audible sound of bees buzzing among them when they are in bloom. They are great for beds, borders and herb gardens.
The origin of the genus name is not as clear. Linnaeus, the father of biological nomenclature, stated that the name was a corruption of “corago”, from the Latin words “cor”, meaning “heart”, and “ago”, which means “to act”, due to its medicinal value in treating heart conditions.
Some believe the name may also derive from the Latin word “burra”, which means “hairy garment”, because of the hairiness of the plant.
Borage symbolizes courage and power.
Both Roman and Celtic warriors used Borage to give them courage in battle.
Interesting facts about Borago:
Starflower (Borago officinalis)
Borago officinalis, also known as Starflower or Tailwort, is the most popular species of the genus, cultivated and used widely throughout the world.
The species is also known as the Bee Plant because it attracts bees all summer long. However, it attracts other pollinators, too!
Borago officinalis is very popular as a medicinal herb.
The plant contains high levels of iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, B and C vitamins and beta carotene, but it is especially rich in gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that is vital to cell and body functions.
Starflower has been used to treat various ailments, from skin conditions and cardiovascular disorders to its use as a mild sedative. The species is highly valued for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which could help decrease pain and protect against disease. It has also been used to treat nervous conditions, anxiety, depression, respiratory and digestive disorders. It has a calming effect on the human body and can act as a natural sedative.
The entire plant is edible, but the leaves and flowers are most often used.
The leaves can be eaten raw, cooked as vegetable or brewed into a tea. The flowers are usually used for food decoration, but can be made into syrups as well. The seeds are used to make borage oil, prized for its high gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content.
According to Greek physician Dioscorides and the Roman scholar Pliny, Starflower was the mysterious plant Homer called “nepenthe”, which would “quiet all pain and strife and bring forgetfulness to every ill”.
In history, Starflower was used in spiritual rituals to bring peace to the home and tranquillity in the family.
The flowers are mostly blue in color, but can also be pink.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
They can grow up to 2 metres (6.5 ft) in height, depending on species.
These plants will grow in any type of soil, as long as it is rich and well drained. The ideal soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.