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The Collaborative International Dictionary

anchusa \anchusa\ n. 1. any of various Old World herbs of the genus Anchusa having one-sided clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers.


n. Any plant of the genus ''Anchusa'' (within family Boraginaceae) of rough and hairy Old World herbs with one-sided clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers.


n. any of various Old World herbs of the genus Anchusa having one-sided clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers

See also Anchusa class corvette, a former class of Royal Navy ships

The genus Anchusa belongs to the tribe Boragineae of the borage family ( Boraginaceae). It includes about 40 species.

These species grow in Europe, North Africa, South Africa and Western Asia. They are introduced in the United States.

They consist of annual plants, biennial plants and perennial plants with the general characteristics of the borage family. They are generally herbs, covered with bristly hairs. The leaves are simple or undulate, covered with stiff hairs.

The small radially symmetrical flowers are sapphire blue and retain their colour a long time. The plants show numerous flowers with 5 sepals, united at their bases, and 5 petals forming a narrow tube facing upwards. The flowers grow in several axillary cymes, simple or branched, or are clustered at the end. The flowers are much frequented by bees.

The roots of Anchusa (just like those of Alkanna and Lithospermum) contain anchusin (or alkanet-red ), a red-brown resinoid colouring matter. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in alcohol, chloroform and ether.

Anchusa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora onosmella.

Usage examples of "anchusa".

Botany had lavished there its most elegant drapery of ferns of all kinds, snap-dragons with their violet mouths and golden pistils, the blue anchusa, the brown lichens, so that the old worn stones seemed mere accessories peeping out at intervals from this fresh growth.

Borage was sometimes called Bugloss by the old herbalists, a name that properly belongs to Anchusa officinalis, the Alkanet, the Small Bugloss being Lycopsis arvensis, and Viper's Bugloss being the popular name for Echium vulgare.