I’ve been noticing this plant a lot around where we live. It’s Green alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) and it likes low-lying, damp or shaded places.
Cambridge is therefore perfect for the plant because the town is about as low lying as you can get. It is six metres (19 feet) above sea level.
Green alkanet is a wild flower (or a weed, depending on how you think of it) and a member of the Boraginaceae family.
Alkanet is therefore related to the forget-me-not, borage, viper’s bugloss, bluebells, hound’s tongue, comfrey, and others.
It has pretty blue flowers like forget-me-nots, and hairy leaves.
It looks somewhat similar to comfrey from a distance, but the flower heads are different and don’t hang down.
The Latin name Pentaglottis comes from Greek, meaning five tongues.
The word Alkanet comes from Arabic, via Spanish and Middle English, and means henna. The pigment is in the roots and it is used in cosmetics and soaps.
I wonder whether the Pakistani community use a local extract for putting henna decoration on their hands for weddings and other occasions?