Common name: Early-flowering borage
Trachystemon orientalis is a deciduous perennial. Its small and wispy blue flowers come out first in early spring, making the hummingbirds happy. Then weed-smothering leaves follow. Once these comfrey-looking leaves emerge, they grow so fast that the flowers just manage to peek out of them.
You can find this low-growing perennial scattered about the Woodland Garden. It has the look of a plant bordering on invasive. Although preferring shaded woodland locations, it will grow under any conditions. Even dry soil. And its native habitat is quite a spread - from southern Europe to southwest Asia.
So far it has been a good addition to our Woodland Garden. The hummingbirds love it, and we might even acquire a taste for it. Trachystemon is eaten as a vegetable in Turkey. The flowers, stems, young leaves and rhizome are cooked and eaten. The pictures were taken in the Woodland Garden in spring.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones
Close-up flower photo by Denis.prévôt, via Wikimedia Commons