Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

nafex - RE: [NAFEX] comfrey - different species

Subject: North American Fruit Explorers mailing list at ibiblio

List archive

Chronological Thread  
  • From: Diane Whitehead <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: RE: [NAFEX] comfrey - different species
  • Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 19:03:56 -0700

There are 25 species of comfrey. Many are used as groundcovers because they spread. Obviously it is one of these that people are warning against.

Symphytum officinale was grown as a herb. I think it makes a clump.

S. asperum makes a big prickly-leaved clump and has blue flowers.

S. x uplandicum, Russian comfrey is a hybrid of these. (S. asperum x S. grandiflorum). It makes a huge clump and seems impossible to kill. I rip off every leaf and use them for compost, and still it thrives. The bees love the flowers. Information sources disagree about whether it is sterile or whether it has seeded itself in lots of British hedgerows. I haven't noticed any seedlings here in 35 years.

Some are sold by nurseries for decorative purposes:

S. ibericum 'All Gold' is described as a 'handsome woodlander' in New Zealand. From the picture, it looked like a clump-former.

I saw one used as groundcover at Hidcote Garden in England. It had spread over such a large area that I decided never to plant it. (S. asperum x grandiflorum x officinale 'Hidcote Blue')

A couple more are listed by nurseries for groundcover: S. azureum and S. rubrum.

Diane Whitehead Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.24.

Top of Page