Borage officialinalis, also known as starflower or bee bush, is an edible flowering herb native to the Mediterranean region. It belongs to the Boraginaceae family, which includes the forget-me-not.
Borage can be identified by its hairy stems and leaves. When it blooms in May until October, it produces attractive blue, star-shaped flowers.
And it is not just another pretty plant in the garden. Borage has many useful benefits.
These are the top reasons why you should grow borage:
- Borage is tasty and highly nutritional! It contains vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. The leaves and flowers, which have a cucumber taste, can be eaten raw or cooked.
- It is one of the easiest herbs to grow; it will grow in the poorest and driest of soils. Just sow the big black seeds into some soil and let nature work its magic! However, for the best results, use moist, fertile soil and plant in a sunny location. And as a bonus, the plant will re-seed itself; you will get a new crop the following year without additional effort!
- In a garden bed, borage can be used as a companion plant to protect legumes, spinach and tomatoes from pests.
- Borage will attract bees to your garden. As as we all know, we need bees in our eco-system and we should make them happy! And if you like honey, you really should grow borage. Honey bees are highly attracted to the nectar-rich flowers and will produce a high-yield of delectable honey.
Fun Flower Facts about Borage:
- Borage is eaten as a vegetable in Germany, in some parts of Spain and Italy.
- Borage tea is a popular drink in European countries.
- It contains omega-6 fatty acids.
- It is grown commercially for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
- The herb is used in traditional herbal medicines, for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Borage oil, extracted from the seeds, can be used to treat eczema and other skin conditions.
- In ancient Rome, borage was given to soldiers going into battle to help calm nerves and give them courage.
- There is a belief that if a woman slipped a bit of borage into her man’s drink, he will have the courage to propose.