Borage Trachystemon orientalis

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
early-flowering borage


Commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, this perennial plant features hairy stems and foliage. Its leaves are large, heart-shaped, and slightly bristly, with a lush green color that can add a textural element to any garden. During its blooming period, typically in early spring, the plant produces small, bright blue to purplish flowers which cluster together in bountiful arrays, offering a striking contrast to the greenery. These blossoms are tubular and have a distinctive five-lobed corolla, presenting a delicate appearance. Post-bloom, the plant continues to offer visual interest with its bold foliage that maintains its appeal throughout the growing season.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, Oriental Borage, Balkan Comfrey

    • Common names

      Borago orientalis, Asperugo procumbens, Borraginoides orientalis, Trachystemon cordifolius, Trachystemon dshorochensis, Trachystemon tauricus

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as borage, is generally not considered toxic to humans. It is actually known for its edible leaves, which are consumed in some cultures when cooked. No significant toxic effects or poisoning symptoms are commonly reported from ingesting the typical parts of the plant used for culinary purposes, such as leaves or flowers.

    • To pets

      Borage is not typically known to be toxic to pets. There are no widely recognized symptoms of poisoning from pets ingesting Trachystemon orientalis. As with any non-toxic plant, overconsumption can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort for pets, such as vomiting or diarrhea, but borage is not generally considered a threat to household animals.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-3 feet (0.3-0.9 meters)

    • Spread

      2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Balkans Turkey


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ground cover: Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, provides a dense ground cover that helps suppress weeds and protect soil from erosion.
    • Shade tolerance: The plant can thrive in shady conditions where other plants might struggle, making it a versatile choice for gardeners with shaded areas.
    • Drought resistance: Once established, Abraham-Isaac-Jacob can be quite drought-resistant, requiring minimal watering and upkeep.
    • Edible parts: The leaves and shoots are edible, traditionally consumed in some cultures, adding a unique offering to kitchen gardens or edible landscapes.
    • Ornamental value: With its large, heart-shaped leaves and blue to purple flowers that appear in spring, it offers ornamental value to the garden landscape.
    • Wildlife habitat: The plant can provide food and shelter for wildlife, including insects and birds, contributing to biodiversity in a garden or natural area.
    • Fast growth: Abraham-Isaac-Jacob has a fast growth rate, allowing for quick coverage and filling in garden spaces efficiently.
    • Cold hardiness: It has good resistance to cold temperatures, making it suitable for gardens in cooler climates.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, is used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Wound healing: It has been traditionally applied to promote wound healing due to its purported antimicrobial and healing effects.
    • Gastrointestinal relief: The plant has been used to aid in the relief of gastrointestinal discomfort.
    • Antioxidant: Contains compounds that are believed to exhibit antioxidant activity, helping to neutralize free radicals in the body.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • As an ornamental ground cover: Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, is used in landscaping for its capacity to cover ground quickly with its large, heart-shaped leaves, making it ideal for areas needing vegetation where other plants may not thrive.
    • In cooking: The young leaves of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob are edible and can be cooked similarly to spinach, adding a green vegetable to traditional dishes in regions where it is native.
    • As a natural dye: The plant can be used to produce a mild, green dye for textiles, though this is not a widely documented use.
    • Erosion control: Its robust root system can help stabilize soil on slopes and prevent erosion, making it useful in landscape management and conservation efforts.
    • Foraging for wildlife: The plant provides food for certain species of wildlife, particularly in its native habitat, where local fauna may feed on its leaves and flowers.
    • Bee-friendly planting: Abraham-Isaac-Jacob is known to attract bees when it flowers, offering a source of nectar and contributing to the support of local pollinator populations.
    • Living mulch: Due to its dense growth, the plant can act as a living mulch, helping to retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth in managed gardens and landscapes.
    • Educational tool: In educational gardens and conservation areas, it can be used as an example of a plant that thrives in shade, teaching about plant adaptability and the importance of biodiversity in garden planning.
    • Companion planting: The shade tolerance of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob allows it to be planted alongside taller species, providing a lush understory in forested garden design.
    • Cultural significance: In some regions, Abraham-Isaac-Jacob may hold cultural significance and be used in traditional practices or ceremonies, although specific examples vary by locale.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Abraham-Isaac-Jacob is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Trachystemon orientalis, also known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, is a hardy ground cover that is resistant to many adverse conditions. Its ability to thrive where other plants may struggle is symbolic of endurance and the ability to withstand challenges.
    • Resourcefulness: This plant is known for its vigorous growth in a variety of soils, illustrating the trait of making the most out of available resources, analogous to human resourcefulness.
    • Adaptability: Abraham-Isaac-Jacob’s ability to adapt to different light conditions – flourishing in both shade and partial sun – makes it symbolic of adaptability and versatility in life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Balkan clary should be watered thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch, which may be approximately once a week, depending on climate and soil conditions. Provide enough water to soak the soil to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches, rather than shallow, frequent waterings. During the active growing season in spring and summer, the plant may need more frequent waterings, especially in hot, dry weather. During the fall and winter, reduce watering, but do not allow the soil to become completely dry. It is essential not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    The Balkan clary thrives best in partial shade to full shade conditions. It is not suited for direct, intense sunlight, which can scorch the leaves. A spot under a canopy of trees or on the north side of a building, where it can receive filtered light or soft morning sun followed by shade, would be ideal.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Balkan clary prefers a temperate climate and can withstand a range of temperatures. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 20°F and is comfortable in the usual garden conditions during the growing season. Ideally, it should be grown in conditions where the temperature ranges between 50°F and 75°F for optimal growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Balkan clary is generally done to maintain its shape and encourage denser foliage. Trim it back in early spring before new growth begins, cutting away any dead or damaged leaves. Pruning can be done annually, or as needed to control its size and remove any unwanted spread.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For Borage, prepare a soil mix with good drainage using loamy soil, compost, and sand or perlite. Borage prefers a soil pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Borage is typically not repotted often; it's best to plant it where it can spread out as it's a vigorous grower.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Borage isn't particularly humidity-sensitive, thriving in average room humidity levels; avoid overly dry air.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure large pot, indirect light, cool temps for indoor Borage.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to partial shade, well-draining spot for outdoor Borage.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Trachystemon orientalis, also known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, begins with seed germination, usually in early spring, when the soil temperature rises and moisture is sufficient. After germination, seedlings establish themselves, developing a basal rosette of large, heart-shaped, rough-textured leaves. As the plant matures, it forms a rhizomatous root system that allows it to spread and colonize the area, exhibiting aggressive growth. Flowering occurs in early spring before the canopy of trees above fully forms, with spikes of blue to violet flowers that are attractive to early-season pollinators. After pollination and flowering, the plant sets seeds that are dispersed by gravity and possibly by animals, completing the reproductive cycle. The plant then undergoes a period of dormancy during the winter months, with the above-ground foliage dying back, to re-emerge the following spring from its perennial rootstock.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The best time to propagate Trachystemon orientalis, commonly known as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, is in the spring. Its most popular method of propagation is by division. This involves carefully digging up an established clump of the plant after the risk of frost has passed and the soil is workable. Using a sharp spade or knife, the clump should be divided into smaller sections, making sure that each section has at least one growing shoot and a portion of the root system intact. These divisions can then be replanted immediately into well-prepared soil, spaced about 12 to 18 inches (approximately 30 to 45 centimeters) apart to allow for growth and adequate air circulation. Water the new plantings thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and eliminate air pockets. This method is effective and ensures that the new plants will be true to the parent plant, as they are genetically identical.