Symphytum officinale comfreyComfrey is coarse perennial herb native to Europe and Asia where it inhabits rich moist soils. It is a member of the borgage family (Boraginaceae) along with forget-me-not, lungwort and heliotrope. The plant grows from a fleshy rhizome that is black on the outside and white within and has a stout hollow stem. The deep green leaves are hairy and up to ten inches long. The bell-shaped flowers are borne on short, one-sided, curved racemes from spring into summer and may be blue, yellow, or white. They are pendent and 1/2 inch long. Comfrey has been grown since about 400 BC by the Greeks to treat a variety of problems including wounds, bronchial infections, bleeding, and broken bones. In the 1840s comfrey was considered as a possible major food source to relieve famine but more recent research suggests that comfrey may damage the liver.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Blue, yellow or white bell-shaped flowers, 1/2″ long, carried on short, one-sided curved racemes from spring into summer

Size: 1-5′ H x 2-6′ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Fertile, moist,

Care: Aggresive so may need control

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Pests and Diseases: Powdery mildew

Propagation: Seed, root division in autumn, cuttings anytime

By Karen