Symphytum asperum (Prickly Comfrey)

Scientific Name

Symphytum asperum Lepech.

Common Names

Prickly Comfrey, Rough Comfrey, Persian Comfrey


Symphytum armeniacum, Symphytum asperrimum, Symphytum echinatum, Symphytum majus, Symphytum peregrinum

Scientific Classification

Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Boraginoideae
Genus: Symphytum


Color: Rose-pink, but mature to blue or purple
Bloom Time: Spring to early summer


Symphytum asperum is a coarse, hairy, rhizomatous perennial up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. Ovate to elliptic leaves are up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, dark green and prickly hairy. Mature stems are not winged (leaf bases are not decurrent as is the case with Symphytum officinale). Small tubular flowers (each to 0.5 inch/1.2 cm long) in scorpioid cymes open rose-pink in spring but mature to blue or purple.

Symphytum asperum - Prickly Comfrey
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USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Comfrey can be grown from seed, but it requires a chilling winter period to germinate. If all you want is one plant, you can usually find them for a reasonable price in the herb section of local nurseries or by mail order. Plants can go outdoors once the danger of frost has passed.

When starting several plants, it is more common to use root cuttings. These are 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) lengths of the root, which are planted horizontally 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm) deep. Plant shallow in clay soil and deeper in sandy soils.

You can also grow Comfrey from crown cuttings, but these will be more expensive. A crown cutting will include several eyes and may grow faster than root cuttings. However, the difference is negligible. Crown cuttings are planted 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) deep.

Comfrey is widely adapted, but it will thrive in fertile organic soil. See more at How to Grow and Care for Comfrey.


Native to Asia.


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