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Green Alkanet

Pentaglottis sempervirens

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, hedgerows, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
The flowers of Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) are an intense, vivid blue in color, shaped like a star, and they typically bloom in clusters. These flowers are notably attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies due to their nectar-rich nature. Each individual flower consists of five petals forming a tubular shape and can be seen in bloom during late spring and early summer in the United Kingdom.
The fruit of Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) is typically small and nut-like, known as a nutlet. These nutlets develop after the flowering period and contain seeds. They are often dark in colour and quite small, each containing the potential to produce a new plant if they find suitable conditions for germination and growth.
The leaves of Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) are elongated and rough in texture, often hairy and lance-shaped. They have pronounced veins and are arranged alternately along the stems. The leaves resemble those of the forget-me-not, having a coarse texture and covered in tiny, stiff hairs, which contribute to their rough feel when touched.
Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) does not possess a distinctive or notable fragrance. It is generally considered to be odourless or without a significant scent, with no characteristic fragrance that is typically associated with the plant.
Other Names:
Evergreen Alkanet, Evergreen Bugloss.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pentaglottis sempervirens, also known as green alkanet or evergreen bugloss, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the borage family and is known for its small, blue or purple flowers and hairy, evergreen leaves. Pentaglottis sempervirens is a low-growing plant that spreads quickly and is often used as a groundcover in gardens. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Pentaglottis sempervirens prefers partial shade to full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The plant is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as slugs and snails. Pentaglottis sempervirens is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Green Alkanet, also known as Pentaglottis sempervirens, is a hardy perennial plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is known for its beautiful blue-purple flowers that bloom in the spring and summer.

The plant has a creeping root system and can grow up to 1 meter tall. The leaves are green and glossy, and the flowers are typically 5-10mm in diameter, with 5 petals. The plant is often found in woodlands and on rocky slopes, but can also be grown in gardens.

Green Alkanet is a popular plant for natural dyeing, as the roots contain a red dye that can be used to color fabrics, yarns and other materials. The dye is extracted by boiling the roots for a period of time, and then straining the liquid. The resulting dye can be used to produce a range of colors, from pale pink to dark red, depending on the mordant used and the length of time the fabric is left in the dye bath.

The plant is also known for its medicinal properties. The roots have been used traditionally to treat a range of ailments, including skin conditions, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. However, it should be noted that Green Alkanet is toxic if ingested in large quantities, so it should be used with caution.

In gardens, Green Alkanet can be planted in full sun to partial shade, in well-drained soil. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing the root system. The plant can be invasive, so it is important to keep an eye on it and remove any unwanted shoots.

In addition to its uses in natural dyeing and traditional medicine, Green Alkanet also has ornamental value in gardens. Its beautiful blue-purple flowers are a striking addition to any garden, and its glossy green leaves provide a nice contrast. It is often used in rock gardens, mixed borders, and naturalized areas.

Green Alkanet is also a popular choice for wildlife gardens. The flowers are a source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, and the plant is a host for the larvae of several species of butterflies. The plant is also a good choice for attracting birds, as the seeds are a food source for many species.

Green Alkanet is relatively low maintenance, and once established, it can tolerate drought and poor soil conditions. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing the root system in spring or autumn.

It's important to note that Green Alkanet is considered an invasive species in some areas. If you live in an area where it is considered invasive, it is best to avoid planting it. If you do decide to plant it, be sure to keep an eye on it, and remove any unwanted shoots promptly.

Another interesting aspect of Green Alkanet is its cultural significance. This plant has been used in traditional folk medicine and magic for centuries, particularly in Europe. The plant was believed to have protective properties and was often used in charms and amulets to ward off evil spirits.

The roots of the plant were also believed to have the power to detect and neutralize poison. In medieval Europe, the root of the plant was often carried by travelers and traders to protect them from poisoned food and drink.

Despite its toxic nature, Green Alkanet has been used in food and drink. The young leaves and shoots of the plant can be eaten as a salad green, and the roots can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute.

It is also used for making a traditional liquor in some regions of Italy, it is called "Rosolio di pentaglottis"

In conclusion, Green Alkanet is a fascinating plant that has a rich cultural history and a wide range of uses. From natural dyeing and traditional medicine to ornamental gardening and wildlife conservation, this plant has many benefits. However, it is important to be aware of its invasive nature and toxic properties and use it with caution.

Facts About Green Alkanet

Here are 30 facts about Green Alkanet:

  1. Botanical Name: Green Alkanet is scientifically known as Pentaglottis sempervirens.
  2. Appearance: It's a perennial plant with hairy stems and vibrant blue flowers.
  3. Origin: The plant is native to Western Europe.
  4. Habitat: It thrives in woodland areas, hedgerows, and rough grassland.
  5. Leaves: The leaves are rough, hairy, and elongated with a resemblance to those of the forget-me-not.
  6. Flowers: Green Alkanet typically blooms in late spring and early summer, showcasing clusters of intense blue, star-shaped flowers.
  7. Bee Attraction: Bees are particularly attracted to Green Alkanet due to its nectar-rich flowers.
  8. Traditional Uses: Historically, the plant was utilized for its supposed medicinal properties.
  9. Wildlife: Various insects and pollinators, such as butterflies, are drawn to this plant.
  10. Perennial Nature: It grows and spreads each year from the same roots, making it a perennial plant.
  11. Invasive Characteristics: It can be invasive in certain areas, spreading readily and becoming difficult to control.
  12. Tall Stature: Green Alkanet can grow up to around 2 to 3 feet in height.
  13. Historical Dye: The roots were used in the past to create red dyes.
  14. Toxicity: The plant contains toxic alkaloids that can be harmful if ingested.
  15. Self-seeding: It reproduces by self-seeding, allowing it to spread quickly in favorable conditions.
  16. Adaptability: It can adapt to different soil types but thrives in moist, well-drained soil.
  17. Uses in Gardening: Some gardeners use Green Alkanet as ground cover due to its ability to spread.
  18. Invasive Control: Its invasive nature requires monitoring and control measures in gardens and landscapes.
  19. Etymology: The name "Alkanet" is derived from the Arabic word "al-henna," indicating a resemblance to henna dye.
  20. Naturalizing Effect: In some regions, it has naturalized, meaning it has become a part of the local ecosystem.
  21. Companion Planting: Some gardeners use it in companion planting for its ability to attract beneficial insects.
  22. Folklore: Folk tales suggest it was used for healing wounds and snake bites.
  23. Culinary Use: Historically, its roots were used as a substitute for coffee.
  24. Herbal Properties: It was historically believed to possess astringent and diuretic properties.
  25. Resilient Growth: Green Alkanet can survive in shaded areas.
  26. Gardening Caution: Due to its invasive nature, it's often considered a problematic weed in gardens.
  27. Conservation Status: In some regions, it's considered an invasive species, impacting local biodiversity.
  28. Medicinal History: Traditionally used in herbal medicine for treating skin conditions and wounds.
  29. Dye Production: The roots were historically used to produce dyes for textiles and paper.
  30. Cultural Significance: The plant has cultural ties to herbalism and natural dye production throughout history.


Video 1: Green Alkanet filmed at Orford, Suffolk on the 29th June 2022.


Video 2: Green Alkanet filmed at the following locations:
  • Heysham, Lancashire: 29th May 2023
  • Feizor, Yorkshire Dales: 2nd June 2023
  • Arnside, Cumbria: 3rd June 2023
  • Marshside, Southport, Lancashire: 4th June 2023

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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