In Praise of Green Alkanet

Dear Readers, I know that many of you will be horrified by this post. After all, Green Alkanet is not native and a bit of a thug, with a tap root that  probably goes down to the centre of the earth. And when I got back from Canada on Saturday, I was horrified myself to see that what I thought was one or two plants has flowered forth into a positive thicket.

But then I stopped to listen. The plants were abuzz with bees. Mainly honeybees (probably from the local allotment), but also with bumblebees, hoverflies…

Hoverfly, probably Myathropa florea

This greenbottle is more often seen on carrion or dung, but also plays a role as a pollinator. 


There’s already cuckoospit on one of the stems, which will soon turn into a froghopper.

And did I mention the bees?

It’s no wonder that this plant is so popular – it’s a member of the Borage family, which contains some of the most nectar-rich of all plants. Plus it flowers prolifically over a long period. In the front garden, it’s currently filling the gap before the lavender flowers, followed by the buddleia. It’s clearly thriving. And so, while I have tried to grow other things here, it’s a tough spot – dry, exposed and stony. So for this year at least, I think the green alkanet will have its day.

2 thoughts on “In Praise of Green Alkanet

  1. Ann Bronkhorst

    Yes, I feel ambivalent about them too. Especially when they root between paving stones. To learn how nectar-rich their flowers are tips the balance.


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