E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Symphytum officinale L.
common comfrey
Boraginaceae (Borage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25260)

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Distribution of Symphytum officinale
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Species Information

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General:
Perennial herb from a thick, branched taproot; stems branched, winged from ridges that run down from the leaf bases, 0.5-1.5 m tall; stem and inflorescence with spreading and downward-curving, conical, bristly hairs.
Leaves:
Basal leaves stalked, large, the blades egg-shaped or narrowly egg-shaped to oblong, 15-30 cm long and 7-12 cm wide; stem leaves ample, oblong-lanceolate, with long-tapering, pointed tips, gradually becoming smaller and shorter-stalked upwards, spreading-hairy, entire, alternate.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of several to many small, coiled, drooping, bractless clusters; corollas cream or dull blue to purplish, 1.5-1.8 cm long; petals fused at base into a tube that flares at top to a bell-shaped limb (longer than tube) and 5 lobes with recurved tips, the throat with 5 narrow hairy bulges; calyx teeth sharp-tipped.
Fruits:
Nutlets 4, clustered together, curved inward, smooth, shining.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to mesic roadsides and waste places in the lowland, steppe and lower montane zones; rare in S BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Symphytum officinale subsp. uliginosum auct. non (Kern.) Nyman [misapplied]
Symphytum uliginosum auct. non Kern. [misapplied]

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References