18 April 2013

Borage (Borago officinalis),

In spring, it is possible to see Borage (Borago officinalis) growing amongst wildflowers in the countryside as well as in urban settings.  It has distinct almost translucent pale blue flowers shaped like a star and is apparently also known by the common name of star flower.  The borage plant has many uses such as borage seed oil, it is also used in traditional medicine, naturopathy and also has culinary uses. 
Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has naturalized in many other locales. The leaves are edible and the plant is grown in gardens for that purpose in some parts of Europe. The plant is also commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds.
It grows to a height of 60–100 cm (2.0–3.3 ft), and is bristly or hairy all over the stems and leaves; the leaves are alternate, simple, and 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are complete, perfect with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. Flowers are most often blue in color, although pink flowers are sometimes observed. White flowered types are also cultivated. The blue flower is genetically dominant over the white flower.
Borage is used in companion planting. It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries. It is also said to be a good companion plant to tomatoes because it confuses the mother moths of tomato hornworms or manduca looking for a place to lay their eggs.
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. The leaves and flowers were originally used in Pimms before it was replaced by mint or cucumber peel.  Borage leaves have a cucumber like flavor.  It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland.  In Iran people sometimes put it in their tea.

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