Information on Common Comfrey

Common Name: Common Comfrey
Scientific Name: Symphytum officinale
Irish Name: Compar
Family Group: Boraginaceae.
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Comfrey could sometimes be confused with:

Comfrey, Hidcote, Comfrey, Russian, Comfrey, Tuberous,

Common Comfrey grows as high as 1.5m. Its flowers are 12-18mm long, tubular-bell-shaped, purple, pink or white. The edges of the flower are slightly upturned as 5 tiny lobes. These flowers are in branched, coiled clusters and are borne on erect, hairy, stems with down-pointing, tapering hairs & wings which continue from one leaf axil to next. The upper leaves are clasping, oval and hairy. The basal leaves are large, oval-lanceolate, stalked, untoothed and softly hairy. It grows in damp grassland, by riverbanks, waste ground and on marshes. It is a scattered perennial, probably introduced and belongs to the Borage family.

I first saw this plant and photographed it in 2012 near Slade, Co Wexford. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Comfrey, Common
Comfrey, Common

Also known as Lus na gcnámh mbriste (Plant of the broken bone) and Knitbone, Comfrey was used in traditional medicine as a treatment for arthritis and other bone ailments.   

This wildflower has now become well recognised as a key plant in the organic movement due to its deep roots which can access minerals other plants can't get to.  Thus the leaves, being full of nitrogen and potassium, make a most welcome and effective addition to any compost heap.