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Overview

Comprehensive Description

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The most striking aspect of this plant are the star-shaped flowers; the petals have a shade of genuine blue that is uncommon among flowering plants. The flowers are reportedly edible with a sweet taste. The leaves are also eaten in salads and other dishes; they have a cucumber-like flavor. However, because of their potential toxicity, the leaves should be eaten in only small amounts. Because of its unique blue flowers, Borage is easy to identify. Other species in the Borage family have flowers with more conventional corollas.
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Description

This annual wildflower is 1½–2½' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are light to medium green, terete, hollow, and densely covered with stiff white hairs. Alternate leaves along these stems are 2-6" long and about 1/3 as much across; they are ovate, obovate, or oblanceolate in shape with margins that are smooth and slightly undulate. The upper leaf surface is dark green, wrinkled from indented veins, and covered with sparse appressed hairs. The lower leaf surface is light to medium green and hairy primarily along the undersides of the veins. Upper stems terminate in scorpioid cymes of nodding flowers. Individual flowers are ¾-1" across, consisting of 5 lanceolate blue petals (rarely white or pink), 5 green sepals, 5 dark blue to black anthers that merge together to form a central beak, and an ovary with a single style. The linear sepals are covered with stiff white hairs along their outer surfaces; they are about the same length or a little shorter than the petals. Like the stems and sepals, the branches of each inflorescence are covered with stiff white hairs; they are green to dark red. In Illinois, the blooming period occurs from mid-summer into the fall, lasting about 1½-3 months. Each flower is replaced by 4 dark brown nutlets. The root system consists of a taproot. This wildflower spreads by reseeding itself.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

According to Muëller (1873/1883), the nectar and pollen of the flowers attract bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, other long-tongued bees, and Halictid bees. It is unclear to what extent mammalian herbivores in North America feed on the foliage of Borage, which is mildly toxic from the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Similarly, there is lack of information about the consumption of seeds by birds and rodents. Photographic Location
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
circular, bordered, embedded sorus of Entyloma serotinum parasitises live leaf (lower) of Borago officinalis

Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecium of Golovinomyces cynoglossi parasitises live Borago officinalis

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Borago officinalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Borago officinalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
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© Info Flora (CRSF/ZDSF) & Autoren 2005

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is a sunny position, mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Borage

This article is about common species Borago officinalis. For related plants sometimes called borage, see Borago

.

Borage (/ˈbɒr.ɪdʒ/, 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. It grows satisfactorily in gardens in the UK climate, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. 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.

Appearance[edit]

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.[1] The flowers arise along scorpioid cymes to form large floral displays with multiple flowers blooming simultaneously, suggesting that borage has a high degree of geitonogamy (intra-plant pollination).[1] It has an indeterminate growth habit which may lead to prolific spreading. In temperate climate such as in the UK, its flowering season is relatively long, from June to September. In milder climates, borage will bloom continuously for most of the year.

Characteristics and uses[edit]

A white flower cultivar
Two blossoms, the younger one is pink, the older blue

Traditionally borage was cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. The seed oil is desired as source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), for which borage is the highest known plant-based source (17-28%).[2] The seed oil content is between 26-38% and in addition to GLA contains the fatty acids palmitic acid (10-11%), stearic acid (3.5-4.5%), oleic acid (16-20%), linoleic acid (35-38%), eicosenoic acid (3.5-5.5%), erucic acid (1.5-3.5%), and nervonic acid (1.5%). The oil is often marketed as "starflower oil" or "borage oil" for uses as a GLA supplement, although healthy adults will typically produce ample GLA through dietary linoleic acid.

Borage is used as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber-like taste, is often used in salads or as a garnish.[3] The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) thesinine,[citation needed] has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored edible substances,[citation needed] is often used to decorate desserts.[3] It is notable that the leaves have been found to contain small amounts (2-10 ppm of dried herb) of the liver-toxic PAs intermedine, lycopsamine, amabiline and supinine.[4] Leaves contain mainly the toxic lycopsamine also amabiline and the non-toxic saturated PA thesinine. PAs are also present in borage seed oil, but may be removed depending on method of processing.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

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 northern Italian region of 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 a filling of the traditional pasta ravioli and pansoti. It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland.[citation needed]

Borage is also traditionally used as a garnish in the Pimms Cup cocktail,[3] but is nowadays often replaced by a long sliver of cucumber peel or by mint. It is also one of the key "Botanical" flavourings in Gilpin's Westmorland Extra Dry Gin.

Traditional and modern medicine[edit]

Aragonese cuisine. Borage boiled and sautéed with garlic, served with potatoes.

A methanol extract of borage has shown strong amoebicidal activity in vitro. The 50% inhibitory concentration (LD50) of the extract for Entamoeba histolytica was only 33 µg/mL.[11]

Traditionally Borago officinalis is used in hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders,[12] such as gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).[13]

In Iran people make a tea to relieve colds, flu, bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney inflammation.[citation needed] It is said to be warm in nature and alleviates symptoms that are caused by using food that is cold in nature such as cucumber and fish. People with heart problems can benefit using the borage tea,[medical citation needed] since it promotes better circulation of oxygen to the heart; that’s why one should use this herb in moderate amounts.[14][unreliable medical source?]

Naturopathic practitioners use borage for regulation of metabolism and the hormonal system, and consider it to be a good remedy for PMS and menopause symptoms such as the hot flash.[15] The flowers can be prepared in infusion.

One case of status epilepticus has been reported that was associated with borage oil ingestion.[16]

Companion planting[edit]

Borage is used in companion planting.[17] It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries.[18] It is also said to be a good companion plant to tomatoes because it confuses the search image of the mother moths of tomato hornworms or manduca looking for a place to lay their eggs.[19] Claims that it improves tomato growth[20] and makes them taste better[21] remain unsubstantiated.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Geitonogamy: a mechanism responsible for high selfing rates in borage (Borago officinalis L.) - Springer". Springerlink.com. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  2. ^ National Non-Food Crops Centre. NNFCC Crop Factsheet: Borage, Retrieved on 16 Feb 2011
  3. ^ a b c "Borage". Encyclopedia of spices. The Epicentre. 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  4. ^ "Borage Wildflower Finder". Wildflowerfinder.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  5. ^ Borage at Sloan-Kettering website
  6. ^ Dodson, Craig D.; Stermitz, Frank R. (1986). "Pyrrolizidine alkaloids from borage (Borago officinalis) seeds and flowers". Journal of Natural Products 49 (4): 727–728. doi:10.1021/np50046a045. 
  7. ^ Parvais, O.; Vander Stricht, B.; Vanhaelen-Fastre, R.; Vanhaelen, M. (1994). "TLC detection of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in oil extracted from the seeds of Borago officinalis". Journal of Planar Chromatography--Modern TLC 7 (1): 80–82. 
  8. ^ Wretensjoe, Inger; Karlberg, Bo. (2003). "Pyrrolizidine alkaloid content in crude and processed borage oil from different processing stages". Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 80 (10): 963–970. doi:10.1007/s11746-003-0804-z. 
  9. ^ Awang V. C. (1999). Eskinazi D., ed. The Information Base for safety assessment of Botanicals. Botanical Medicine. 
  10. ^ Langer T., Franz Ch. (1997). "Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in commercial samples of borage seed oil products by GC-MS". Scientia Pharmaceutica 65 (4): 321–328. 
  11. ^ Leos-Rivas C., Verde-Star M.J., Torres L.O., Oranday-Cardenas A., Rivas-Morales C., Barron-Gonzalez M.P., Morales-Vallarta M.R., Cruz-Vega D.E.; Verde-Star; Torres; Oranday-Cardenas; Rivas-Morales; Barron-Gonzalez; Morales-Vallarta; Cruz-Vega (2011). "In vitro amoebicidal activity of borage (Borago officinalis) extract on entamoeba histolytica". Journal of Medicinal Food 14 (7–8): 866–869. doi:10.1089/jmf.2010.0164. PMID 21476887. 
  12. ^ Gilani A.H., Bashir S., Khan A.-u."Pharmacological basis for the use of Borago officinalis in gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 114 (3) (pp 393-399), 2007.
  13. ^ Gilani A.-U.-H.Focused Conference Group: P16 - Natural products: Past and future? Pharmacological use of borago officinalis. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. Conference: 16th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology - WorldPharma 2010 Copenhagen Denmark. Publication: (var. pagings). 107 (pp 301), 2010. Date of Publication: July 2010.[Journal: Conference Abstract]
  14. ^ Pharmaceutical Plants: Properties of fruits and vegetables., Ed: Shahabe Khezri, ISBN 964-06-2267-2
  15. ^ Gupta M., Singh S. Borago officinalis Linn. "An important medicinal plant of Mediterranean region: Review." International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research. 5 (1) (pp 27-34), 2010.
  16. ^ Al-Khamees W.A., Schwartz M.D., Alrashdi S., Algren A.D., Morgan B.W.; Schwartz; Alrashdi; Algren; Morgan (2011). "Status Epilepticus Associated with Borage Oil Ingestion". Journal of Medical Toxicology 7 (2): 154–157. doi:10.1007/s13181-011-0135-9. PMC 3724443. PMID 21387119.  After taking 1.5 to 3g of borage oil daily for a week; level of GLA in blood was high.
  17. ^ "Gardening Borage a Companion Plant". Back2theland.com. 2009-05-23. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  18. ^ Long Island Adventures LLC. "Borage: Herbal Companion". N8ture. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  19. ^ "Use Borage". Gardenguides.com. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  20. ^ "GH Organics". GH Organics. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  21. ^ "Borage Garden Guide". Gardenguides.com. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
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