Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as Starflower, is an annual herb native to Syria. The plant has since naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region, Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. Traditionally borage is cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today it is more for the oilseed, which contains high level of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Borage can grow to a height of 60-100 cm, with hairy stems and leaves. The often blue, sometimes pink flowers are of five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. Flowers are produced in cymes with multiple flowers blooming simultaneously. In milder climates, the flowers will bloom continuously for most of the year. The blue flowers has a sweet honey-like taste and is often used to decorate dessert.

Borage can be use either as a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. If used fresh, it has cucumber-like taste, and is often used in salad or as a garnish. Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany, Spanish region of Aragon and Navarra and Liguria region in Italy.

Borage is also used in companion planting. When planted near tomato plant, it is known to improve tomato growth, make the tomatoes tastier and repel the tomato hornworm. It can also planted to protect or nurse legumes, spinach and brassica, and even strawberries.

Borago officinalisBorago officinalis
Author: Hans Hillewaert (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Borago officinalisBorago officinalis
Author: Victor M. Vicente Selvas (public domain)

Borago officinalisBorago officinalis
Author: Sten Porse (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Borago officinalisBorago officinalis
Author: Yummifruitbat (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Borago officinalisBorago officinalis
Author: H. Zell (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

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