Common comfrey

Common Comfrey

┬ęTerry Whittaker/2020VISION

Common Comfrey

┬ęTerry Whittaker/2020VISION

Common comfrey

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Scientific name: Symphytum officinale
The drooping, tubular, pink flowers of Common comfrey are a familiar sight to many gardeners. Sometimes considered a 'weed', this hairy plant can be used as an organic fertiliser and a form of slug control.

Top facts


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status


When to see

May to July


Common comfrey is a hairy plant of damp ground and is found beside rivers, in fens and ditches, and on roadside verges and waste ground. It often grows in clumps and displays clusters of bell-shaped, pinky-purple flowers from May to July. It has become an important plant for organic gardeners as its roots reach deep into the soil making it rich in minerals, while its leaves can be used for slug control, as a fertiliser and as a composting aid.

What to look for

The comfreys are a small group, but can be difficult to tell apart from each other as hybrids are common. Common comfrey has large, oval, hairy leaves, and clusters of drooping, tubular flowers that are pinky-purple in colour.

Where to find

Wdiespread, but most common in England.

Did you know?

Common Comfrey is a popular plant in herbal medicine and is regularly used to treat sprains, bruises and wounds, and to ease the pain of arthritis.