The WALA Plant Library
Common Comfrey

Synonyms for Common Comfrey: Blackroot, boneset, bruisewort, comfrey, consound, knitback, knitbone, slippery root
Scientific Name: Symphytum officinale L.
Family: Boraginaceae (borage family)


This plant likes the wet. From May to September dense clusters of its flowers, usually reddish violet, more rarely whitish yellow, adorn damp meadows and the banks of streams. The opening flowers unfold one after the other like the tips of fern fronds. Common comfrey grows from a thick, juicy rootstock and its shoots can reach a metre in height. The root is black on the outside and white inside. Comfrey is easily recognisable by its drooping, bell-shaped flowers with their long, protruding pistils, as well as by its bristly hairs which resemble those of the related borage. The lanceolate leaves taper towards the stem. The stalks of the upper leaves grow along the stem like wings, each reaching down to the leaf below.