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Symphytum orientale - L.

Common Name White comfrey
Family Boraginaceae
USDA hardiness 3-9
Known Hazards 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. Use topically on unbroken skin. May cause loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting. Do not use with Eucalyptus. Do not combine with herbs containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (e.g. agrimony, alpine ragwort, help, tansy ragwort) [301].
Habitats Hedgerows and copses, on lane sides, by roads and railways, on waste ground. It is often naturalised, and sometimes regenerates from seed.
Range Native to: Lebanon-Syria, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Ukraine. Introduced into: Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy.
Edibility Rating    (0 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 orientale White comfrey


Symphytum orientale White comfrey
Cwmhiraeth wikimedia.org

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Symphytum orientale is a deciduous Perennial growing to 0.8 m (2ft 6in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil 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. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

No synonyms are recorded for this name.

Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known. Other species in this family have some edible uses but we could find no information for Symphytum orientale.

References

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. Other species in this family have good medicinal properties but we could find no information for Symphytum orientale

References

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Other Uses

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]. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch. Landscape Uses: Border, Ground cover, Specimen. One of the more attractive comfreys. A good bee plant.

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

A clump-forming, hairy, herbaceous to semi-evergreen perennial. Bell-shaped, white flowers in early summer. 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]. Not as invasive as other Symphytum species. The root system is very deep and difficult to eradicate, even small fragments of root left in the soil can produce new plants. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30?C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is fibrous dividing into a large number of fine roots [1-2]. The root pattern is fleshy. Thick or swollen - fibrous or tap root [1-2]. This plant is the ornamental variety and so often mistaken for Common Comfrey it has the same distinct leaf continuation down the stem but is softer and more esthetically pleasing than Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinal).

References

Temperature Converter

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

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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

White comfrey, Soft comfrey.

Found In

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

Lebanon-Syria, Turkey, Ukraine. Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy.

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not listed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Symphytum asperumPrickly ComfreyPerennial1.5 4-8 FLMHSNM320
Symphytum grandiflorumGround Cover Comfrey, ComfreyPerennial0.4 3-9 FLMHFSM004
Symphytum officinaleComfrey, Common comfreyPerennial1.2 3-9 FLMHSNM354
Symphytum tuberosumTuberous comfreyPerennial0.6 4-8 FLMHSNM20 
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.

 

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Botanical References

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