Borage, also known as Borago officinalis, is a herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is a hairy, annual herb that grows to a height of about 60 cm, with blue, star-shaped flowers and large hairy leaves. The plant is easily differentiated from similar plants by its hairy stems and leaves, and its bright blue flowers.
Borage prefers well-drained soil and full sun, and grows best in warm temperatures. It is a fast-growing plant, and can be easily cultivated by direct sowing or transplanting seedlings. Borage is not winter hardy, and should be grown as an annual in most climates.
The leaves and flowers of borage are edible, and can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes. The leaves have a cucumber-like flavor, while the flowers are slightly sweet. The edible parts of the plant can be stored by freezing or drying.
Borage has several medicinal uses, and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and anxiety. It is also a good source of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
In addition to its medicinal uses, borage has value as a companion plant in the garden. It attracts pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, and can be used as a natural pest deterrent.
Direct sow early spring when temperatures reach 21°C (70°F). Best sown directly, as borage develops a delicate taproot.