Wednesday, May 06, 2009

100 Species Challenge: Green Alkanet

(also known as Evergreen Bugloss)

Scientific name: Pentaglottis sempervirens
Family: Boraginaceae
Flowers: April to July

I found huge quantities of this plant growing in this churchyard, couldn't find it in my basic wildflower guide, but was able to identify it online. Green alkanet is indiginous to south-west France and Spain, and was brought to Britain in the middle ages thanks to the red dye produced by the roots. It was often planted around monasteries so that the dye could be used for vestments - I wonder if this is how it came to be in the churchyard? The name originates from the same Arabic root as henna.


Theresa said...

Fascinating about the red dye-church yard connection!

Dorothy said...

I've seen quite a bit of this around this spring and was just assuming it was borage. Mind you, it's hard to see scale in your photo.

The Bookworm said...

Dorothy, it is the same family as borage, but I'm pretty certain of the ID - the petals are pointed on borage flowers, whereas green alkanet has rounded petals.This one is borage; and this is green alkanet.

Dorothy said...

Oh yes, they are quite different, aren't they? Thanks for that!