Borago officinalis L. - Borage, Cucumber grass

Taxonomic position.

Family: Boraginaceae Juss.; Genus: Borago L.

Morphology and biology.

Biannual plant. Stem is erect or raised, thick, strong, covered by long squarrose setiform hairs, its upper part is usually branchy. Leaves are wavy on edge, with small teeth. The bottom leaves have petioles and oval plates, 3-7 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, blunt, covered by setiform hairs. The top leaves are sessile, oblong. The inflorescence is usually corymbiform-paniculate, with a few small lanceolate leaves at the base; above, in the bostryx, it is without leaves. Flowers in the bostryx are drooping, on long pedicels covered by squarrose hairs. Calyx is 10-12 mm long, at fruits up to 15 mm long; its shares are not sharp. Corolla is blue, 15-20 mm in diameter. Blades of turned back part of corolla are oblong-lanceolate, cut almost up to stamens. Anthers are dark-violet, 5-6 mm long; strings are strongly expanded at the base and are many times shorter than anthers. Nutlets are 5 mm in height, straight, oblong, with convex sides; top is short, blunt, compressed. A ring of the attachment is dark, bulged. Caruncle is very large, exert. Blossoms in May-June, fructifies in July-August. It is insect-pollinated.


The species is distributed throughout the Mediterranean, Middle Europe, Iran. In the territory of the former USSR: in the European part in all areas, not frequently as weed or ruderal plant; very seldom in the Caucasus, in Central Asia and in Western Siberia.


It grows in weedy places, near dwellings or kitchen gardens. It frequently escapes from cultivated areas.

Use and economic value.

As a food it is used as a spice or seasoning due to the fact that the leaves smell like cucumber. It is also an ornamental and a honey plant.

Reference citations:

Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limics USSR olim)[List of Vascular Plants of Russia]. St. Petersburg: Mir I Semia. 990 pp. (In Russian)
Grossgheim, A.A. 1948. Manual of plants of Caucasus. Leningrad. 288 p. (In Russian)
Shishkin, B.K. & E.G. Bobrov, ed. 1948. Flora USSR. V. 13. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of Acad. Science. 451 p. (In Russian)

© Smekalova, T.N.


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