The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Borage
|Borage (Borago officinalis).|
BORAGE (borago), a plant and the typical genus of the order boraginaceæ. Calyx 5, rarely 4-parted, and persistent; corolla hypogynous, monopetalous, rotate, 5, rarely 4-cleft, imbricate in æstivation; stamens inserted on the tube of the corolla, exserted, alternate with the segments of the corolla; anthers oblong or lanceolate, extrose, conniving in a cone around the style, awned; ovary 4-parted, carpels or nutlets 4, 1-seeded, 1-celled, distinct, seeds exalbuminous. Herbs or shrubs with alternate, exstiputate leaves, usually rough; flowers in spikes, panicles, or corymbs, rarely solitary in the axils. B. officinalis originally came from Aleppo, but is now thoroughly naturalized in central Europe and England. Corolla blue or purple, sometimes white, or with different colors on the same stem; tube of the corolla with emarginate rotate scales; nuts ovate-oblong, ribbed, the ribs denticulate. The plant was once in great repute, being reckoned one of the four cordial flowers, with alkanet, violets, and roses. A decoction of its leaves with honey was used as a pectoral medicine, and the drink culled in England cool tankards is made of the succulent, mucilaginous stems. The juice contains much nitre, and to this is probably due the cooling quality of the plant. The young and tender leaves are used for pickles or as a salad, and hence borage is much cultivated in some cities of Europe.