This one one of my favourite flowers.. My friend Manuela (Flowers Manuela, Abel Smith st Wellington) gifted me one from her garden.
"The herb borage is a well known annual with beautiful sky blue flowers and succulent foliage; not so well known is its equally beautiful form with pure white flowers. It is identical in growth habit to its blue counterpart, growing to a 2 to 3 foot tall bush that is slightly narrower in width. Both share the same large, fuzzy oval-shaped leaves. Their wrinkly, grey-green coloured leaves are best described by the Arabic name—lisan atheur, which aptly describes the shape and texture of the leaf as the 'tongue of the bull.'
This white flowered form of borage is not often written about
A delightful, beautiful annual and a very important flower for bees providing both pollen and nectar in prodigious amounts.
Had a definite but subtle cucumber aftertaste. The perfectly star-shaped flower is centred by black stamens (described as the plant's 'beauty mark' in one herbal).
The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet honey-like taste and as one of the few truly blue-coloured edible things, is often used to decorate desserts.
Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany, in the Spanish regions of Aragón and Navarra, in the Greek island of Crete and in the Italian northern region 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 filling of the traditional pasta ravioli and pansoti. It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland.
The leaves and flowers were originally used in the manufacture of Pimms before it was replaced by mint. It is traditionally used as a garnish in the Pimms Cup cocktail, but is often replaced by cucumber if not available.
Borage is good companion plant to have in the vegetable garden as the insects it attracts make good pollinators for crops. It is a very useful companion plant to strawberries, as they are believed to stimulate each other's growth.
As a companion plant to tomatoes, it is believed that borage deters tomato worm, and is thus a natural form of pest control. Borage is attractive to blackfly, this can be used to advantage by planting it as a decoy close to one's fruits and vegetables to prevent them being blighted - an excellent companion plant for beans and peas. Borage is also good as a green manure. Its long taproot brings up nutrients from the subsoil that remain in the leaves. Before the plant flowers the plants can be dug back into the ground to release the nutrients back into the topsoil.
In folk tradition, borage has long been believed to dispel melancholy and ease grief and sadness.
European herbalists use borage for both internal and external uses. It is used in homeopathic remedies and as a flower essence. It is a cooling, cleansing and refreshing herb with adaptogenic, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The starflower has been chosen as the emblem for National Cancer Day by the Cancer Research Campaign. The flower will adorn buttonholes on May 23 has been used in the worldwide treatment and research of cancer for 700 years, according to the charity
A poultice of crushed Borage leaves is soothing and healing to skin inflammations. It will relieve insect bites and stings, reduce swelling and bruising and is also helpful for clearing up boils and rashes.
Borage tea can be made by taking a small bunch of leaves and flowers and simmering in boiling water. Steep for five minutes and strain. If mixed with honey, this can help if one is suffering from a cold. Borage tea will relieve fevers, and promote sweating. It is a beneficial treatment for dry cough, throat irritation, chest colds and bronchitis.
Borage tea is also a good remedy for such digestive disturbances as gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also said to help cure a hangover.
Borage originated in Syria, but is naturalised throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. The flowers are usually a vivid sky blue, although an occasional pink bloom does appear, there is also a rare species with white flowers.
Info sourced from www.seedaholic.com