This week I would like to talk about most native genera of the Boraginaceae or Borage Family. This is family number 107 in Stace.
Most species of this family have inflorescences that have a coiling shape, at least when new. The corolla varies in shape from rotate to bell-shaped to tubular, but it generally has five lobes. It can be green, white, yellow, orange, pink, purple, or blue.
Most pollination is by hymenopterans, such as bees.
Most members of this family have hairy leaves. The coarse character of the hairs is due to cystoliths of silicon dioxide and calcium carbonate. These hairs can induce an adverse skin reaction, including itching and rash in some individuals, particularly among people who handle the plants regularly, such as gardeners.
I am starting off with the evergreen Pentaglottis sempervirens which flowers during several months from spring into summer with bright blue flowers on long stems.
It has deep reaching, black, thick roots and it is classified as one of the more difficult weeds on the RHS website although it is not native in the British Isles.
Several of my customers have it in their gardens and mostly don’t mind its invasive habits too much as it is such a valuable flower for bees and other insects.
It was introduced from south west Europe and now widely naturalized at least as far north as Walsall (!) and prefers moisture retentive soils.