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Anchusa officinalis - L.                
                 
Common Name Alkanet, Common bugloss
Family Boraginaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Roadsides, pastures and waste ground, preferring warmer areas[9, 13].
Range Europe to W. Asia. An introduced casual in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Anchusa officinalis is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Anchusa officinalis Alkanet, Common bugloss


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anchusa_officinalis_Sturm8.jpg
Anchusa officinalis Alkanet, Common bugloss
http://www.biolib.de/
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Leaves and young shoots - cooked[9, 115, 166]. Used like spinach[2, 183]. Flowers - cooked or used as a garnish[183]. The red dye obtained from the roots can be used to colour oils and fats[105].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Demulcent;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy.

All parts of the plant are demulcent and expectorant[9]. They are used externally to treat cuts, bruises and phlebitis and internally to treat coughs and bronchial catarrh[9]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers[9].
Other Uses
Dye.

A red dye is obtained from the roots[13].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a sunny position[1]. Prefers a fertile well-drained soil[111]. The flowers are a rich source of nectar and are very attractive to bees[1]. The dry leaves emit a rich musky fragrance, rather like wild strawberry leaves drying.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in pots of sandy soil[200]. An overnight drop in temperature helps germination[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 4 weeks at 21°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seed bed during July, transplanting the plants to their final positions during early autumn[245]. These plants will grow larger and flower earlier than those sown in spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[111]Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials.
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[166]Taylor. J. The Milder Garden.
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Marinella Zepigi Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Anchusa officinalis L. - Description - Photos

Andrew T.
May 27 2013 12:00AM
Alkanet is also known as Common Bugloss
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