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Symphytum asperum - Lepech.

Common Name Prickly Comfrey
Family Boraginaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards No reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, but the following reports have been seen for S. officinale. This plant contains small quantities of a toxic alkaloid which can have a cumulative effect upon the liver. Largest concentrations are found in the roots, leaves contain higher quantities of the alkaloid as they grow older and young leaves contain almost none. Most people would have to consume very large quantities of the plant in order to do any harm, though anyone with liver problems should obviously be more cautious. In general, the health-promoting properties of the plant probably far outweigh any possible disbenefits, especially if only the younger leaves are used.
Habitats Waste places in Britain[17].
Range Europe to W. Asia. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Symphytum asperum Prickly Comfrey


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:TeunSpaans
Symphytum asperum Prickly Comfrey
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Symphytum asperum is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Gum  Tea

The following reports are for S. officinale, they are said to also apply to this species[200]. Young leaves - cooked or raw[2, 4, 5, 9, 46, 61]. The leaf is hairy and the texture is mucilaginous. It may be full of minerals but it is not pleasant eating for most tastes. It can be chopped up finely and added to salads, in this way the hairiness is not so obvious[183]. Young shoots can be used as an asparagus substitute[46]. The blanched stalks are used[183]. Older leaves can be dried and used as a tea[26]. The peeled roots are cut up and added to soups[183]. A tea is made from the dried leaves and roots[183]. The roasted roots are used with dandelion and chicory roots for making coffee[183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Astringent  Demulcent  Emollient  Expectorant  Haemostatic  Refrigerant  Vulnerary


The leaves are anodyne, mildly astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, haemostatic, refrigerant and vulnerary. They are used as an external poultice in the treatment of cuts, bruises and sprains. Internally, they are used as a tea in the treatment of chest complaints. The plant contains a substance called 'allantoin', a cell proliferant that speeds up the healing process[4, 21, 26, 165]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried.

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Other Uses

Biomass  Compost  Gum

The following reports are for S. officinale, they are said to also apply to this species[200]. The plant grows very quickly, producing a lot of bulk. It is tolerant of being cut several times a year and can be used to provide 'instant compost' for crops such as potatoes. Simply layer the wilted leaves at the bottom of the potato trench or apply them as a mulch in no-dig gardens. A liquid feed can be obtained by soaking the leaves in a small amount of water for a week, excellent for potassium demanding crops such as tomatoes. The leaves are also a very valuable addition to the compost heap[26, 200]. A gum obtained from the roots was at one time used in the treatment of wool before it was spun[100].

Cultivation details

Tolerates most soils and situations but prefers a moist soil and some shade[1, 4]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Best grown in an open sunny site in a deep rich soil if it is being grown for compost material[200]. Plants can be invasive, often spreading freely by means of self-sown seed. They are also very difficult to remove, the root system is very deep and even small fragments of root left in the soil can produce new plants.

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed you can try an outdoor sowing in situ in the spring. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Simply use a spade to chop off the top 7cm of root just below the soil level. The original root will regrow and you will have a number of root tops, each of which will make a new plant. These can either be potted up or planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Symphytum grandiflorumGround Cover Comfrey, Comfrey00
Symphytum officinaleComfrey, Common comfrey35
Symphytum tuberosumTuberous comfrey20
Symphytum uplandicumComfrey35

 

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