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Sunday 10 June 2012

Green Alkanet

This is a really eyecatching plant and it has beautiful blue flowers, usually found around hedgerows and bankside verges, particularly but not exclusively near the coast..

From a distance it could be mistaken for a speedwell or even a forget-me-not, but closer inspection reveals it's true identity

A real insect attractor, it's a gorgeous plant to have found. It was actually introduced by the Romans as a source of a red natural dye which can be extracted from the quite large root..I know one or two people who have tried this and complained it didn't work and the dye was a pale green colour.The reason they didn't succeed was quite simple, the red dye is not soluble in water. It was originally extracted with spirits of wine, so if you want to try this invest in a couple of bottles of vodka first!
I have read in other places that the flowers are edible, however I actually think these references are getting mixed up with Borage which can be eaten in salads and confusingly because Green Alkanet is actually a member of the Boraginaceae family.

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