Common Alkanet

Anchusa officinalis

The upright clusters of caerulean blue edible flowers provide a valuable nectar source for pollinators. Thrives in a variety of conditions and may be considered invasive in some areas. “Anchusa” comes from the Greek word for “paint,” and the red color extracted from the root has been used in cosmetics to color rouges, salves, and lipsticks, and as a popular stain for wood. It has a long history as a medicinal herb in Europe for treating skin inflammation, coughs, and stomach ulcers, and was also used in the Middle Ages as a remedy for ergot poisoning.

Water: Moderate to Dry

Hardiness: Frost Hardy

Habit: Short-lived perennial 1 to 3' tall and 1' wide

Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade, thrives in a variety of conditions

Soil: Average to poor soil

Origin: Native to Europe, but has naturalized in many parts of North America, including California

Common Alkanet