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Borago officinalis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BoraginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1--2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1--4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
Genera In Family: +- 120 genera, +- 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Toxicity: Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. Note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera, treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Genus: BoragoView Description 

Common Name: BORAGE
Habit: Annual [perennial herb], bristly to rough-hairy. Stem: ascending to erect. Leaf: cauline, +- petioled, ovate to oblanceolate, entire. Inflorescence: cymes, terminal, 2--3-flowered; pedicels +- spreading to pendent in fruit. Flower: calyx deep-5-lobed; corolla rotate to bell-shaped, lobes spreading, throat appendages erect, glabrous; stamens exserted, filament base dilated, anthers adherent around style, separating in age. Fruit: nutlets +- erect, 4, stout, obovoid, irregularly tubercled, exposed stipe-like basal attachment scar, rim of attachment scar thickened.
Species In Genus: 4 species: southern Europe, northern Africa. Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley

Borago officinalis L.
Habit: Generally branching above; taprooted. Stem: 2--7 dm. Leaf: lower blades 8--20 cm, 3--8 cm wide. Flower: calyx lobes 8--10 mm, 10--15 mm in fruit, linear; corolla rotate, bright blue, limb 18--20 mm diam; anthers 5--8 mm, dark brown. Fruit: nutlets 5--7 mm, +- oblong. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Ecology: Open, disturbed sites; Elevation: < 550 m. Bioregional Distribution: CCo, SnFrB, SCo; Distribution Outside California: widespread United States; native to southern Europe. Flowering Time: Jun--Aug Note: Ornamental, cultivated for bees (nectar source), potherb.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley
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botanical illustration including Borago officinalis


Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley 2012, Borago officinalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 21, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 21, 2018.

Borago officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Borago officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Borago officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Borago officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Borago officinalis
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer

More photos of Borago officinalis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Borago officinalis:
CCo, SnFrB, SCo;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.