Symphytum officinale (Common Comfrey)

Scientific Name

Symphytum officinale L.

Common Names

Comfrey, Common Comfrey, True Comfrey, Quaker Comfrey, Cultivated Comfrey, Boneset, Consound, Healingherb, Knitbone, Slippery-Root


Symphytum peregrinum

Scientific Classification

Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Boraginoideae
Genus: Symphytum


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mid-spring to early summer


Symphytum officinale is a hardy perennial plant that grows up to 4 feet (1.3 m) tall. The roots are fleshy and white inside and black on the outside. Stems are thick and hairy and bear large, ovate to lanceolate, dark green leaves. Flowers are small and bell-shaped, densely arranged in clusters, and varying in color from white, creamy white to light purple and pink.

Symphytum officinale - Common Comfrey

How to Grow and Care

Comfrey can be grown from seed, but it requires a winter chilling 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 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 rich organic soil. See more at: How to Grow and Care for Comfrey.


Native to Europe.


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