|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Boraginaceae (from the genus Borago, an ancient name having reference to the roughness of the foliage). Borage Family. Herbs, rarely shrubs or trees: leaves usually alternate, very frequently rough-hairy: flowers bisexual, regular, rarely irregular; inflorescence usually circinate; calyx 4-5-cleft, persistent; corolla 4-5-lobed, gamopetalous, hypogynous, imbricated, often with scales or folds in the throat; stamens 5, epipetalous, alternating with the corolla-lobes; hypogynous disk usually present; carpels 2; ovary superior, 4-celled, either entire and style terminal, or 2-lobed, or more commonly deeply 4-lobed with the style basal between the lobes; each cell 1-ovuled; style 1; stigmas usually 2: fruit rarely a berry, usually of 4 1-seeded nutlets, with the surface variously smooth, polished, wrinkled, barbed, winged, or crested.
There are 85 genera and about 1,500 species widely distributed in the temperate and tropical zones, most abundant in the Mediterranean region and in western North America. The largest genera are Cordia with 230 species, and Heliotropium with 220 species. The family is most closely related to the Hydrophyllaceae; also related to the Verbenaceae and Labiatae. The circinate inflorescence, and 2-carpelled, 4-celled ovary with 1 seed in each cell, are distinctive characteristics. The fruit of the Boraginaceae is most diverse, and very important in classification within the family.
Many species, native in Europe, were formerly used for medicine; for example, comfrey (Symphytum officinale), borage (Borago officinalis), hound's-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale), lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis), viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare), bugloss (Anchusa officinalis), gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), and heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum). Tournefortia umbellata was used in Mexico as a febrifuge. The roots of alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria) of South Europe and Asia contain a red dye of commercial importance. The roots of some species of Anchusa, Onosma, Lithospermum and Arnebia also contain a red pigment. The wood of some species of Cordia is of value, as are also its bast fibers. The wood of several species of Ehretia is valuable, and the fruit is edible.
About 30 genera are in cultivation in N. America, mostly as hardy ornamental border plants. Among these are: Arnebia (Prophet's Flower, Arabian Primrose); Anchusa (Alkanet, not the real); Borago (Borage), used as a pot-herb or bee-plant; Cerinthe (Honey-wort); Cynoglossum (Hound's-tongue); Echium (Viper's Bugloss); Lithospermum (Gromwell, Puccoon, Indian Paint); Myosotidiom (Giant Forget-me-not); Myosotis (Forget-me-not); Mertensia (Virginian Cowslip, Virginian Lungwort); Omphalodes (Navelwort, Creeping Forget-me-not); Onosma (Golden Drops); Onosmodium (Fake Gromwell); Pulmonaria (Lungwort, Bethlehem Sage); and Symphytum (Comfrey).CH
Well-known members includewp:
- Alkanet Anchusa tinctoria
- Borage Borago spp.
- Comfrey Symphytum
- Fiddleneck Amsinckia spp.
- Forget-me-not Myosotis spp.
- Geiger Tree Cordia
- Green alkanet Pentaglottis senpervirens
- Heliotrope Heliotropium
- Hound's Tongue Cynoglossum
- Lungwort Pulmonaria
- Oyster Plant Mertensia maritima
- Patterson's Curse Echium plantaginuem
- Viper's Bugloss Echium vulgare
List source = Wikipediawp
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963