There is literally no more appropriate common name for the Borage than the one it has: the starflower. Try and come up with one, it’s impossible, I’ve tried (and I write #content for a living, so I think I should know). We’ve been conditioned since childhood drawing classes to see any five-pointed shape as a star. Kind of a reductive way of seeing the most powerful plasma balls in the entire universe, but whatever.
The only possible contender as an alternative name would be the starfish flower, because honestly, both plant and sea creature look like stars in the same way: five striking points, usually in shades of bronze or green, a mottled, hairy-looking texture. Where they differ of course (apart from the aforementioned fact that one is a flower and the other is a sea creature, obviously), is that behind the five points/leaves of the borage, lie a glorious bed of bright, often blue petals. Paired together, they give the flowering heads a kaleidoscopic appearance that immediately entrances the eye. Cosmic indeed.
Hailing from the Mediterranean originally, they’re found across much of Europe these days – in fact they’re commonly found in the cuisine of a fair few countries. Fancy some borage ravioli? Head to Italy! Fancy some, erm, borage-flavoured pickled gherkins? Head to Poland! It was also traditionally used in a lot of herbal medicine but really one gets the impression that it was just quite good for getting pissed on. According to Francis Bacon, borage ‘wine’ had “an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholie.”
(No idea what that means, but it sounds pretty lovely – just like the flower itself!)
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