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Herbs: Borago officinalis

Botanical name: Borago officinalis

Common name: borage

also known as (cool tankard, tailwort, talewort, beebread, beeplant, starflower)

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created by:
in the weeds

Austin, Tx

at a glance

Soil: damp, acidic, sand
Zones: 5a thru 10b

invasive, bee attracting, edible

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description for "Herbs: Borago officinalis"

One of the easiest flowering herbs to grow, 2 to 3 foot borage has clusters of sky-blue little starry flowers and silvery-green leaves that add contrast to other garden plants. Harvest these dainty “bluest of blue” flowers with their mild, cucumber taste to use as garnishes and decorations. Children especially delight in the pretty shape and color of borage blossoms and the texture of their fuzzy leaves. Borage self-sows easily and welcome garden pollinators adore it. Borage is a delightful garden reseeding annual that can be used in the kitchen or as an ornamental plant. Borage needs lots of space, sun or partial shade and moderate watering. Bushy, fuzzy-leafed plants produce edible 1 in. blue flowers that bees love. Its young and tender leaves are best when used fresh in a salad. They can also be cooked like spinach. The sweet blue flowers, plucked from calyx, have a cucumber-like fragrance and are often floated on summer drinks, tossed in salads or candied. Mutually beneficial when planted with strawberries. According to Culpepper's 17th century Herbal, "The leaves, flowers, and seed, all or any of them, are good to expel pensiveness and melancholy." Borage is tasty in tea and salads, the flowers also make pretty cake decorations. Sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before last expected spring frost. Transplant outdoors after last frost. Pick flowers at peak of bloom to add to salads. Harvest leaves throughout the growing season to use medicinally. -- edited by dtd pbcouchman


Borago officinalis is native to Europe.

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