Alkanet plant, Anchusa officinalis, is an old fashioned medicinal and dye plant of Europe. A member of the Borage family, all parts of this plant are covered in soft hairs. Attractive flowers are produced in summer, and change colour from red to blue during the gowing season. Alkanet flowers are noted for attacting insects and other wildlife to the garden. A decoction of the root is used as a blood cleanser and expectorant. Dyes are produced from the rind of the root and vary in colour from brown pinks to strong crimson red. Leaves and stems are sometimes cooked as a vegetable. Native to southern Europe, Alkanet plant is adaptable to most soil types, but prefers an open and sunny position. Frost hardy and drought resistant. A biennial or perennial plant growing to 1.0m.
Sow Alkanet seed late autumn or early spring.