Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens)

Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), an evergreen perennial relative of Forget-me-nots, true Alkanet (Alkanna) and other members of the Borage family.

The species is distinguishable from true Forget-me-nots in Myosotis by being excessively hairy, lacking the yellow corolla centre of the common weedy varieties, and having big leafy bracts where Myosotis is bract-less. Originating in Spain, the species was introduced to England and Scotland by the 1700s, before its description in the Species Plantarum (1753) (where it was formerly placed in the genus Anchusa).

Weedy in England almost immediately and with no domestic uses, Green Alkanet was a suitable selection principally for the floral borders of fancy households with lots of access to the labour necessary to keep this plant in check. In Australia, the much more popular deep blue selection was Cape Forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis), a better-behaved perennial that has only naturalised in Victoria in rare sandy contexts.

Green Alkanet was not well-suited to most Australian gardens. However, the Sydney Mail’s Query Club helpfully identifies the plant in floral borders at the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1913. Apparently recorded in Tasmania at Oatlands that same year, this is a plant that was perhaps introduced into prestigious colonial residential gardens by gardeners who had apprenticed on English and Scottish estates. In Victoria, a cultivated collection was made at Olinda in 1957.

Well-established across northern Tasmania and around Hobart, as well as in New Zealand, the species has only been recorded growing wild in Victoria since the early 1980s, when it showed up in the Dandenong Ranges. It has since been collected around Ballarat (from 1994), and at Mount Macedon (from 2001). The photographed plants are seen around roadsides and trailheads on the north side of Macedon. Although excellent at spreading when circumstances are favourable, Green Alkanet requires good moisture and prefers alkaline soils, somewhat limiting its potential range in Victoria.

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Search for information about Pentaglottis sempervirens in the Flora of Victoria

View information and occurrences of Pentaglottis sempervirens on the Atlas of Living Australia

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