This beautiful, star-shaped, blue to purple colored flower is an annual herb that grows in the flowering plant belonging to the family known as Boraginaceae. The scientific name of this incredible five-petaled flower is Borago officinalis, and it is also known in popular parlance as starflower and beeflower. Not only famous for its striking looks, but this herbal flower is also entirely edible and is widely consumed as food and for its medicinal qualities. A native species of the Mediterranean region, it has become naturalized in other places such as Germany, France, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
The Borage flower meaning and origins can be traced to the Medieval Latin name Borrago which itself is believed to be of Arabic origin. It is supposed to be derived from either of the Arabic words abu buraq or abu huras. The former meaning ‘father of sweat’ refers to its use in diaphoretic medicines, and the latter meaning ‘father of roughness’ indicates its rough surface.
What Do Borage Flowers Symbolize
The Borage flower meaning and symbolization can be traced as far back as ancient Greek times. Many ancient authors have linked this beautiful flower to Euphrosyne, the Greek goddess of joy and mirth. Though not directly mentioned by its present name by Homer in his ‘The Odyssey’, contemporary historians believe that he had indeed referred to it by the name ‘Nepenthe’. The English philosopher Francis Bacon strongly believed that the Borage flower had the ability to overcome melancholy, specifically so when consumed along with wine.
A popular tattoo icon, the borage flower meaning and symbolization has been linked to grace and femininity. It has also long been considered an icon of bravery and courage and was even carried by Roman and Celtic warriors into battle to bring victory.
What Do the Various Colors of the Borage Flower Mean
The various colors and borage flower meanings are as follows.
Also called starflower, this is the most common type and is characterized by deep blue blooms and black stamens.
Known also as white borage, this variety is distinguished by its distinct white-colored blooms and perfectly star-shaped petals. The stems are more robust when compared to the other types, and this variety is used in a range of culinary delicacies from salads and drinks to cakes.
This variety is characterized by its pale blue-colored bloom and green-colored leaves with white mottled over them.
Creeping Borage (Borago Pygmaea)
As the type name indicates, this variety is a sprawling kind, with fragrant and pale blue blooms, that grow between late spring and early autumn. What sets this type apart from the other types is that while the others are annuals, this particular variety is a perennial meaning that they are recurrent throughout the year. This type is particularly suitable in USDA (US Department of Agriculture) zones 5 and above.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Borage Flower
An interesting fact about borage flowers is, though they are very much a delicacy and a medicine for humans, it is not the case with cats and dogs. The reason for this is that they represent high toxicity levels for cats and dogs. Thus, it is always a better option to keep them out of reach from our pets. On the other hand, they are very much favored by pollinating insects like bees.
Long been a part of traditional medicines, borage flowers are used as a sedative and a diuretic. They are also used to treat kidney diseases and seizures. The leaves of the plant are used in the preparation of herbal tea, while the seeds are ground to extract the borage seed oil that is used as a supplement. They also find application in the composition of certain skin creams.
Borage flower meaning cannot be complete without mentioning the medicinal properties of the borage oil. This oil is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and therefore consists of anti-inflammatory properties. Borage flower has also been used in the treatment of the following disorders. They have been found effective in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders like colic, cramps, and diarrhea, and respiratory disorders like asthma and bronchitis. In treating cardiovascular diseases, they are found to be effective as a cardiotonic, an antihypertensive, and a blood purifier.
Because of its honey-like taste, borage flowers are often used in decorating cocktails and desserts. They are also frozen in ice cubes. In Italy, they are used as filling on pasta types like ravioli and pansotti. In Russia and Poland, they are used to flavor pickled gherkins. In beverages, they have been customarily used as a kind of garnish in the Pimms Cup cocktail.
Another interesting tidbit regarding this enchanting flower is that it tends to fill any person merely gazing at it with joy. In past centuries, they were used in magic with the belief of attaining lasting peace and harmony at home. Many still believe that eating these unique and blessed flowers will endow them with happiness and fulfillment. There is another even more exciting aspect of these flowers. In the olden days, borage flowers were prescribed as a remedy for those prospective lovers who were either too shy to propose or simply didn’t have the guts to approach their maids. Consuming these flowers was said to work like magic in making them more courageous and propose to their respective matches.
Borage plants are extensively used in companion planting. They are beneficial to and boost the growth of other vegetable and fruit plants when planted alongside. They also protect and bolster the growth of spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, legumes, and brassicas.
Best Time to Gift Someone Borage Flowers
Though not a traditional choice for bouquets, borage plants can be a wonderful gift if you are considering gifting someone with live plants. With their symbolism of joy, good health, and courage, they make perfect choices for gifting someone who had just recovered from a serious disease or trauma. They can also be an ideal choice for someone who is about to undergo surgery or any daunting task.