Symphytum officinale
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Symphytum officinale


  family boraginaceae 
  genus symphytum 

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Genus  Symphytum Species  officinale Variety  Cultivar  Common names  comfrey   knitbone Family  BORAGINACEAE Specimen number  S12001 Data source  ColorNat p13;HtZn p172;MedPl p136;UnVeg p123
Life cycle
Life form  Terrestrial Life cycle  Annual Life span  1 year Annual cycle  Not applicable Stature  Flower Growth form  Not applicable Growth habit  Various Overall height  2' Overall spread   
Sunshine  Full sun Water    Optimal soil texture  Soil texture 23,26 Acceptable soil pH  Soil pH 06-07 USDA hardiness  USDA zones 05a-09b AHS heat zones  Heat zones 09-04 Sunset climate zones  Not classified
Suitable for gardens  yes Nursery  Unknown Compost  no Size at acquisition  Unknown Garden location  Unknown Garden notes  Despite its invasive tendency, this plant is still worthwhile to have. The leaves of Symphytum officinale have been used in traditional fabric dyeing. Brown is the most typical color produced by Knitbone (also known as comfrey). It is traditionally used to dye wool. (Iron is typically used as a mordant to fix the colors.) This plant can survive cold winters where the average annual low is -20� Fahrenheit. This species needs summer days with high heat. This plant likes full sun.
Special qualities
Tolerates drought  no Tolerates high humidity  no Tolerates seaside conditions  no Insect resistant  no Disease resistant  no Deer resistant  no Best uses    Symbiosis  Attracts butterflies  no Attracts hummingbirds  no Autumn foliage  no Colorful berries  no Desirable qualities    Other interest    Other interest color  Other interest period   
Adverse factors
Common pests  Poisonous parts  Poisonous indications  Internal poison  no Dermatologic poison  no Livestock poison  no Mechanical injury  no Hay fever pollen    Hay fever season    Adverse qualities  Invasive
Herbal medicine
Medicinal properties  demulcent   astringent   anti-inflammatory   vulnerary   heals bones Medicinal parts  Root   Aerial parts Has medicinal uses  yes Do not self-administer  yes Do no use if pregnant  no Legally restricted  yes Toxicity precautions  Medicinal notes  It is spinach-like with a hint of cucumber. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in Symphytum officinale include: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and calcium. See the full list of nutritional values for more. Knitbone (sometimes called comfrey) is most frequently used cooked, frozen or fresh. This plant has herbal applications as a demulcent, as an astringent, as an anti-inflammatory and as a vulnerary. See the medicinal properties section for even more traditional herbal uses. This species is only to be administered with proper professional knowledge. This plant is not permitted in some countries. The root and the aerial parts are used in herbal preparations.
Traditional uses
Parts used  Traditional uses  Contemporary uses  Fragrance  Fragrance parts  Fragrance intensity    Fragrance category    Dye parts  Leaves Dye color  brown
Propagule  Seed Pollination method    Planting style  Bush Crop spacing  1' Row spacing  1' Cold frame  Planting period  Apr 01 - Apr 30 Harvesting period    Frost tolerance  Partially hardy Heat requirement  Warm Fertilizer  Low nitrogen Time to harvest  throughout summer
Is edible  yes Culinary uses  Fresh   Frozen   Cooked Nutritional value  Vitamin A   Vitamin C   Vitamin E   Calcium   Potassium   Phosphorus   Cobalamine   Protein Edible parts  Leaves Description of edible parts Flavor / texture  spinach-like with a hint of cucumber
Horticulture notes  April is normally the best time to begin planting. Typical crop spacing is 1'. Provide 1' spacing between rows. It requires warm days for good production. Low nitrogen is required for optimal growth. The best harvesting period is throughout summer. Propagation of Symphytum officinale can be achieved by seed.
Tag needs printing  no Collection notes  Symphytum officinale has an annual life cycle. Leaves: Knitbone (locally known in some parts as comfrey) has coarse, hairy oval leaves. Flowers: This plant has nodding tubular flower clusters. This long flowering plant is in bloom from April through October. Flowers are often found in such colors as blue, white or purple.

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Last reviewed November 01, 2004   


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