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Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Borage is a fairly inconspicuous plant, often overlooked in the wild due to its similarities to the incredibly common Green Alkanet which tastes horrible!

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Borage, Starflower
Scientific Name Borago officinalis
Season Start Mar
Season End Sep
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Bristly or hairy all over when mature the leaves are alternate, oval, and 5–15 cm long.


The beautiful little blue flowers have five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. Flowers are most often blue in colour, although pink flowers are sometimes seen in the wild.

Flower Buds

The buds are quite different to Foxglove and Green Alkanet.


Coarse and hairy.


Just about anywhere but not overly common in the wild.

Possible Confusion

Green Alkanet or Foxglove, pictured, but the flowers should help in identification.


Borage tastes just like cucumber.

The flowers and young leaves are best as the mature leaves have rather a rough hairy nature. These can be used for cooking though, or for brewing a tea. The flowers are a great addition to salads and summer drinks.

It can be used dried as a pot herb with a freshening flavour.


The young leaves can be picked as the plant grows, then leave it for a while until it starts to flower, you can then collect loads of flowers daily from every plant, borage can flower for very long periods.

Medicinal Uses

Traditionally Borage was used in gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.

Other Facts

The flowers of borage stand apart from those of Green Alkanet, though both have five similarly coloured petals, the petals are separated and the stamen are more pronounced, this makes the flower seem much more complicated, pretty and delicate.
Borage makes a great compost.


6 comments for Borage

  1. Melodie Denton says:

    I have grown some Borage from shop bought seed. I planted them in a large trough along side Bell Peppers, Strawberries and late season potatoes. The Borage has grown tremendously well, but seems to be taking nutrients off everything else! It is about 4 feet high and one particular stem is more than an inch thick! Most of the flowers are blue, but some are pink and there are even some white ones – are these albino, as such?
    Have I chosen the wrong ‘companions’ for planting : what do you think is happening? They are planted in a mixture of John Innes compost and garden top soil.
    Now that my lavender bush is dying back, the bees are loving the Borage flowers … I’ve heard that the nectar refills very quickly.

    Thanks, Mel x

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      There is a variety of white flowered borage and pink flowers often turn blue but I haven’t seen white on the same plant so I’m not sure if they are albino flowers. Borage is a greedy plant, so much so it makes a great nutrient rich compost. It will grow almost anywhere sunny so I would grow it somewhere out of the way where it won’t affect other plants.

  2. Nurten Savurur says:

    can we eta root of the plant ,if can which month? thanks

  3. Rod says:

    Yes , I bought a box of wild flower seeds and sprinkled it on a prepared border.
    The bees are around it all the time, it has dwarfed any of the other plants but they are still growing.
    One thing I had to do was wrap a piece of soft rope around the plant to support the soft branches.
    I have read the flowers are edible and leaves can brew a drink, but others list it as poisonous. I would like to know.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Borage is edible but the leaves can be quite hairy and can irritate the throat if not cooked.

  4. Gail Hill says:

    I read somewhere that borage steeped in bucket of water makes good fertiliser.

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