Borage Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance

In the language of flowers, the borage flower is symbolic of emotional fortitude and joy. This enchanting bloom, with its delicate blue stars, is more than a visual delight—it carries a historical association of courage and happiness dating back to Roman times. In this guide, I’ll delve into the rich symbolism of the borage flower, a plant that has charmed hearts and bolstered spirits from ancient battlefields to the Victorian parlor.

Everything You Need to Know About Borage Flowers

Etymological Meaning

The name Borage has been claimed to be a corruption of early English words for courage, but it’s more confidently traced to Latin and Arabic words referring to the roughness of its leaves. All of the Borago family sport rough and hairy leaves, so it’s not surprising that the name comes from these references.

The Cultural Significance of Borage Flowers

Borage is not directly mentioned in Homer’s The Odyssey, but many contemporary historians like Pliny attributed the flower a role in the story. There are also claims that Roman and Celtic warriors carried the flower into battle as a symbol of courage and bravery. Many ancient authors also linked it to Euphrosyne, the Goddess of Joy.

Borage in Floriography

Borage has a significant place in the language of flowers, also known as floriography, which was particularly popular during the Victorian era when people used bouquets of flowers to convey specific messages and emotions.

The flower is notable for its beautiful star-shaped blue blossoms. It carries the symbolic meaning of courage and bravery, which dates back to ancient times and is often associated with its alleged ability to bring comfort and lift spirits when consumed.

In the language of flowers, borage symbolizes courage and boldness. It also represents happiness, good spirits, and a sense of tranquility.

Borage in Herbal Lore

In herbal lore, borage was thought to have a positive effect on the heart and mood. Borage’s association with cheerfulness and upliftment can also be linked to the medieval practice of including symbolic herbs in “tussie-mussies” or small bouquets with meaningful messages. Though more related to social customs than formal religious practices, this tradition illustrates how plants like borage carried spiritual and emotional significance.

Borage Flowers as a Tattoo

Like all flower tattoos, borage flowers symbolize femininity and delicate grace. The small star-shaped flowers help reinforce this symbolism, as do the graceful and curving stems. Borage flower tattoos are often mixed in with other flowers for a bouquet design on the skin with a lot of personal meaning.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

Fresh cut borage flowers on a white background

Borage flowers are hard to find for gifting, but they are sometimes mixed into larger arrangements. Their symbolism of courage and bravery makes them an ideal flower to gift when someone is preparing for surgery or other challenges. They can also help you send a message of support to someone struggling.


Borage flowers don’t just please the eye with their star-shaped beauty; they also tickle the palate and are rich in meaning and symbolism dating back to Roman times. These easy-to-grow flowers belong in every garden.

Editorial Director | | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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