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Symphytum officinale
Symphytum officinale

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Zones 1-24, 26, 28-43
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Leaves can be harmful if ingested.

Symphytum officinale

Deciduous, Evergreen, Herbs, Perennials

From Eurasia. Deep-rooted plant forms a clump to 3–4 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide. Furry leaves are set with stiff hairs; basal leaves are 8 in. or longer, upper leaves are smaller. Small (1/2-in.-long), unshowy flowers are usually dull rose in color but sometimes white, cream, or purple. In virtually frost-free climates, the plant remains leafy through the winter; elsewhere, it dies to the ground in fall.

Comfrey has a long history as a folk remedy. Leaves can be dried and brewed to make a medicinal tea, though this use is no longer recommended (leaves have been found to contain potentially carcinogenic substances). Herb enthusiasts claim that the plant adds minerals to compost, but think hard before establishing it in your garden: it spreads freely from roots and is difficult to eradicate.

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