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any plant of the 50 or so mostly Mediterranean species of the genus Anchusa and the closely related Pentaglottis sempervirens, bearing blue, purple, or white forget-me-not-like flower clusters on hairy, herbaceous stems. They belong to the family Boraginaceae. True alkanet (A. officinalis) bears purple flowers in coiled sprays, on narrow-leaved plants, 60 cm (2 feet) tall. Large blue alkanet (A. azurea), popular as a garden species, reaches 120 cm (4 feet) and has large, bright-blue flowers with a tuft of white hairs in the throats, and narrow leaves. Oval, pointed evergreen leaves and white-eyed blue flowers characterize the evergreen alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), which reaches 100 cm (3 13 feet). All three species grow in fields and roadside waste spaces. True alkanet has become naturalized in some areas of eastern North America.