Borage Family Ramblings

I’ve been becoming increasingly intrigued by plant families over the last couple of years, and in how to recognise the tenuous links between various plants that show some sort of family relationship.  I’ve been having particular fun recently with the Borage family – probably because we’ve got at least four members of it growing locally, all of whom are in flower at the moment!  The plan over the next couple of weeks is to blog about this plant family and about some of the members of it that I can get my grubby mitts on easily over here – today’s post will be a brief introduction to a few members.   So, without further ado, I present…

…The Borage Family!!!!   (Imagine a big fanfare at this point and a huge blue velvet curtain slowly being lifted!)

Borage (Borago officinalis) is from what I can tell the plant the family is named after!
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) This one’s a garden cultivar, I suspect, though the original looks fairly similar. This was actually one of the first plants to kick off my fascination with herbs!
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum, if memory serves)
Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) – we have masses of this growing quite readily around my neck of the woods. Really very pretty!
Forget Me Not – Myosotis spp. If I can get a decent picture of Woodland Forget Me Not, I’ll post it, but the flowers are so tiny that it truly is a blink and you’ll miss it plant! Forget Me Not is actually just about my favourite spring flower – I find the sight of it utterly enchanting!


Over the next two weeks I shall blog about each of the above beauties (ok, maybe the two Comfreys will go in one blog post…)  and I’m going to be meandering on about Borage plant botany as well, just because I can, and because it gives me a good reason to polish up my old plant botany skills and add to them!  Hopefully this will prove interesting to some of you, and there will of course be the usual quantities of pretty pictures!


Eternal Alchemy

Spring’s sweetness steals my words.

I can only watch, breathless, delighted,

as the oldest, truest alchemy of all

turns winter’s leaden skies

into the green and gold shades of spring.

Blue sky above,

and flowers, the scented breeze

better, more intoxicating,

than even the rarest honeyed mead.

The world renews around me, my feet

bare on the warm soil, the green grass,

verdant leaves inviting my touch,

adoring the sun’s return, just as I do,

face turned to the sky as the sun

slides warm hands over my skin,

silken breezes and longer days

seducing me anew.


  1. I will look forward to these posts Ali. Apart from Comfrey and Borage I haven’t used any of them medicinally.
    Borage is one of my favourites in clinic and in the garden, I carry a little 30ml bottle around with me quite often to use as a rescue remedy type thing. Mine isn’t in flower yet so it’s nice to see yours here.
    And a lovely poem too. 🙂

    1. Hehe I freely admit that photograph was taken last year – I have one plant that has a couple of flowers coming on it, which I shall try and get a picture of later, but its just been too cold here so far for them to really get their feet under them, poor things! I’ve used most of the Borage members I listed medicinally at one time or another, except of course for the Russian Comfrey, which is not used medicinally. Makes great garden compost, though! I love Borage as a courage herb – more about that in the Borage post 😀
      Glad you like the poem 😀

  2. I love your poem! I look forward to you writing about these plants:) I had a friend gift me some of the seeds of the white comfrey! I do hope they germinate well. Have a beautiful day Ali xoxox

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