COMFREY

FAMILY: Boraginaceae | GENUS: SYMPHYTUM officinale

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • Poisonous/Toxic

Plant Details

From Eurasia. Deep-rooted plant forms a clump to 34 feet high, 2 feet wide. Furry leaves are set with stiff hairs. Basal leaves grow to 8 inches or longer; upper leaves are smaller. Small (12 inches-long), unshowy flowers are usually dull rose in color but sometimes white, cream, or purple. In frost-free climates, plant remains leafy through winter; elsewhere, it dies to the ground in fall.

Comfrey has a long history as a folk remedy. The leaves can be dried and brewed to make a medicinal tea, though this use is no longer recommended (leaves have been found to contain potentially carcinogenic substances). Herb enthusiasts claim that the plant adds minerals to compost, but think hard before establishing it in your garden: it spreads freely from roots and is difficult to eradicate.

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