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Symphytum tuberosum - L.

Common Name Tuberous 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 Woods, scrub and by rivers[187].
Range Europe, including Britain, south and east from Germany to Spain, S.w.Russia and Turkey.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Symphytum tuberosum Tuberous comfrey


http://www.kurtstueber.de/
Symphytum tuberosum Tuberous comfrey
http://www.kurtstueber.de/

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Symphytum tuberosum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 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: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Coffee

When roasted until brown and brittle, and then finely ground, the root is used as a coffee substitute. It has a smoothness that is not found in real coffee[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.


None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

A good, and sometimes rampant, ground cover plant for a shady border or woodland.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Tolerates most soils and situations but prefers a moist soil and some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to about -20°c[187]. Plants form extensive patches, spreading by means of a creeping tuberous rhizome[187]. Plants are dormant in summer[187].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant 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

TEMPERATE ASIA: Turkey (northwest) EUROPE: United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Russian Federation (European part), Moldova, Ukraine (incl. Krym), Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Italy (incl. Sicily), Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Baleares), France (incl. possibly Corsica)

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 NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Symphytum asperumPrickly ComfreyPerennial1.5 4-8 FLMHSNM323
Symphytum grandiflorumGround Cover Comfrey, ComfreyPerennial0.4 3-9 FLMHFSM004
Symphytum officinaleComfrey, Common comfreyPerennial1.2 3-10 FLMHSNM354
Symphytum orientaleWhite comfreyPerennial0.8 3-9 FLMHSNM003
Symphytum uplandicumComfreyPerennial1.2 4-8 FLMHSNM354

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

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