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)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Symphytum officinale
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

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.
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.
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.
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


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