borage (bŏrˈəj, bŭrˈ–) [key], common name for the Boraginaceae, a family of widely distributed herbs and some tropical shrubs or trees characterized by rough or hairy stems, four-part fruits, and usually fragrant blossoms. Its species are most abundant in the Mediterranean area, but many are native to North America and are cultivated, e.g., the Virginia cowslip, or Virginia bluebell ( Mertensia virginica ), species of forget-me-not (genus Myosotis ), and species of heliotrope (genus Heliotropium ). Freijó ( Cordia goeldiana ) is an important timber tree in Amazonia. The family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.