BORAGE (Borago officinalis)


Borago officinalis is an annual herb from the Mediterranean, all parts of which are edible. In midsummer soft, furry buds of this plant open into bright BLUE starflowers which can bloom from June to September. In ordinary soil the plant may grow to three feet in height.

Borage increases the resistance of its neighbouring plants to pests & diseases. It can be propagated by seed or division, but bear in mind that it is a prolific self-seeder.


WBorage buds





June and July are heralded by the presence of the borage flower, an appealing, small, brilliant blue bloom with attracting qualities. Indeed, the plant should be included in the butterfly garden and brings pollinators to your veggies. The oval leaves are hairy and rough with the lower foliage pushing 6 inches in length. The borage plant may grow 12 or more inches wide in a tall bushy habit.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Borage Herb: How To Grow Borage


Bees Favourite.

Each flower hangs face down, requiring visiting Bees to dangle beneath it to reach its pollen & nectar. Honeybees, Bumblebees & Wild Bees so favour this wildflower that one of its other names is Bees-Bread.

In a youtube video of bee-friendly flowers in his August garden, The Bumblebee Trust’s founder Dave Goulson says that Borage refills its nectar stores more quickly than any flower he knows.

Garden flowers for bees – august


Throughout Europe, Borage has been used in food & drink. Its flavour was added to wines & vinegars, its plant tops put into soups & stews, with young leaves added to salads. The blue flowers were candied & dropped into ice cube trays, later to be added to drinks for their cucumber-flavoured coolness.

The plant contains vitamins, minerals & carbohydrates. Leaves, flowers & oil of Borago officinalis have been used to treat conditions such as sore throats, coughs, allergies, depression & high blood pressure.

John Gerard, in THE HERBELL, or GENERALL HISTORIE of PLANTES (1597): “Those of our time do use the floures in sallads to exhilerate and make the minde glad. There be also many things made of them, used for the comfort of the heart, to drive away sorrow, and increase the joy of the minde. The leaves and floures of Borrage put into wine make men and women glad and merry, driving away all sadnesse, dulnesse, and melancholy, as Dioscorides and Pliny affirme. Syrrup made of the floures of Borrage comforteth the heart, purgeth melancholy, and quieteth the phreneticke or lunaticke person.”



Other Names: Bee Plant, Bees-Bread, Borraja, Bugloss, Burrage, Cool Tankard, Devil in Church, Fleur de Bourrache, Granny’s Nightcap, Ox’s Tongue, Talewort, Starflower.

Friends Andy & Jean & their girls moved to a beekeeper’s house near Hatfield Forest. The garden’s many bee-friendly flowers had been planted in rows, each one an island on its own with space all round it. Borage, however, was allowed to self-seed and grow where it liked.