Friday, May 6, 2011

bee is for borage

The plant is borage (Borago officinalis), the critter, of course, a European honey bee (Apis mellifera).

Borage is an annual, although it would be easy to be fooled on this point, since they self-sow readily and in this climate there's always borage in some stage of growth in the garden. We planted one many years ago and we've never been lonely for borage.

Borage originated in present-day Syria. It has been cultivated historically for culinary and medicinal uses. The star-like blue flower goes well in salads; it is one of the very few naturally blue edible things. In Europe the leaves are cooked and eaten as greens. Borage seeds are high in good acids and oils; it is the best known plant-based source for gamma-linolenic acid.

It's a good complement to any vegetable garden, like an old friend quietly hanging around.

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