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Symphytum Officinale - Comfrey

Characteristics:Long, hairy lower leaves and upright clusters of white, pink, purple, or yellow flowers that can reach 3 feet high.

Growing Information: Give comfrey moist, loose soil in full sun. Space plants about 3 1/2 feet apart.

Propagation: Sow comfrey seed outdoors in fall or spring. You can also transplant divisions of existing plants. Pieces of the root will often sprout, so once planted, comfrey is very hard to eradicate. It can also spread to invade adjacent plantings.

Cultivars: Handsome variegated forms have white-edged leaves.

Possible Problems: To avoid Japanese beetles, trap them with pheromone lures in a far corner of the yard and treat your lawn with milky spore disease. Or handpick and drop them into a container of soapy water.

Harvesting and Using: Comfrey has long been made into medicinal teas, but its safety for human use is now questioned.

Related Herbs: Caucasian comfrey (S. caucasicum) has handsome pink buds that open to reveal blue or white flowers. Some forms have leaf variegation, too. It grows 2 feet high.

Russian comfrey (S. x uplandicum) has pink buds that open to reveal purple flowers. It reaches 6 feet high.


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