A Wildflower Of Many Talents

It is sometimes difficult to appreciate just how much of what we see around us is a recent addition.  This does not necessarily refer to the obvious – such as buildings – but also to what can be seen in nature.

Indeed a true snapshot of how our life is shaped by man’s urges to travel is best experienced in a walk in a countryside that is littered with plants that have been brought over either purposely or accidentally to our islands and, liking their new environment, quickly became part of the Maltese scenery.

Borage is one such plant.  It has been around for a long time; at least two thousand years with the plant being witnessed and described by the Roman poet Pliny.  Despite its longevity, however, borage did not originate in the Mediterranean but in the area that is now known as Aleppo in Asia.  How - and when - it arrived in Malta is not known.

Regardless of its origin, this is a plant that has enjoyed quite a life.  There was a time when it was considered a herb to be used to improve one’s mood and indeed there are various references in literature that support this claim.  

Today that aspect has been largely forgotten as is its potential to be used in cooking (both flower and leaves are edible) and so its only purpose is to add a twinkling of colour to our side roads.

Botanical name: Borago Officinalis

Common name: Common Borage (English)  Fidloqqom (Maltese)

Family:  Borago Officinalase L.


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