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Russian Comfrey #4 - Live
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Live Comfrey Root for Planting
3 Types of Comfrey (Boraginaceae family, Symphytum Genus)
There are 35 species of Symphytum. I sell 1 type of Common/True Comfrey, 1 type of 'Blue' Comfrey, and 2 types of Russian Comfrey. Prices & How to Order

Common or True Comfrey
Symphytum officinale

Common, True or Quaker comfrey is botanically known as "Symphytum officinale". It is a perennial native to Europe. It is 3 feet tall including the flower stalk.

It has been used medicinally for thousands of years by many different cultures. Young leaves are eaten in Europe.

Flowers are cream, creamy yellow, white, magenta, pink or purplish. I sell the ones with purple flowers.

Some sources call this "cultivated" comfrey while other sources call Russian comfrey the same thing.

This photo is the flowerstalk with seeds on it.

It can be somewhat invasive by spreading viable seeds. The roots are not invasive.

True Comfrey seeds germinate quickly, especially on wet soil that is peat or loam. Stratifying the seeds helps germination. Stratification is a cold, moist period. It needs to be stratified for about 1-3 months. You can do this easily in a refrigerator.

It can also be propagated by root cuttings.

It is used as a green manure or fertilizer. It produces less biomass than Russian Comfrey. Biomass is the amount of living matter in a given area.

Russian Comfrey
Symphytum x uplandicum=
Symphytum peregrinum=
Symphytum asperum x officinale

Cultivated or Russian Comfrey is botanically known as "Symphytum uplandicum" or "Symphytum x uplandica". It is a natural cross between common comfrey and rough comfrey. It grows to 4 feet tall including the flowerstalk.

There are different varieties such as Bocking #4 and Bocking #14.

I sell Bocking #4. It is used in farming and as a fodder (feed) plant for animals. It has deeper roots than #14 so is more drought resistant. Though both cultivars are drought resistant.

I sell Bocking #14. It is used more as a garden fertilizer by making compost tea (liquid fertilizer). And it is used by putting the leaves in a compost pile or in a hole when planting potatoes, trees or other plants. Poultry and livestock love it as much as they do Comfrey #4.

For more about the differences between Bocking No. 4 and No. 14: Russian Comfrey Cultivars.

The 2 types of Russian comfrey are very similar and can be used interchangeably. Livestock eat both Comfrey #4 and #14. Both can be used for compost and fertilizer.

Russian comfrey has purple, white, magenta-pink, red or blue (that fade to pink) flowers. The seeds are not viable. It has to be reproduced by root and crown cuttings.

It produces 100-120 tons per acre of biomass per year. This is 3 times the amount that True Comfrey produces.

Black and white photo:
"This acre of Stephenson Strain (No. 14) Symphytum Peregrinum in its second cutting season, just before a ten ton cut on a Devon Farm (England), is how a field crop should look.

Mr. J.C. Quicke, whose plants are not yet fully established, secured over 2 1/2 times the yield of the 1944 Hannah Dairy Research Trial in 1954, one of the coldest summers on record.

It is a perennial like lucerne (alfalfa), but lasting 20 years, and like lucerne, only those who know how to grow it get a good crop."

-Report on Quaker Comfrey (Symphytum Peregrinum), Number One, The 1954 Research Results by Lawrence D. Hills.
Published 1955 by The Henry Doubleday Research Association, Bocking, Braintree, Essex, England.

Symphytum Hidcote Blue

Hidcote Blue has pretty blue flowers. It is invasive by the roots. The leaves grow to 1 to 1 feet tall. The flower stalk adds another foot.

It is shorter than both True Comfrey and Russian Comfrey.

It sometimes produces seeds that are viable but not usually. It can be propagated by cutting up the root.

It is also called Symphytum grandiflorum Hidcote Blue.

Many Names for Comfrey

Other common names for all types of comfrey are asses-ears, backwort, blackwort, boneset, borraja, bruisewort, bourrache, buyuk, consolida, consoude, consound, consuelda, cumfrey, gewone smeerworte, gum plant, healing herb, knitbone, knitback, liane chique, wallwort, consound, slippery root and yalluc.

Bees love comfrey flowers.

Grow Comfrey (Comfry) from Roots or Seeds

The seeds of Russian Comfrey will not produce seedlings. The seeds are sterile. So it is propagated by root and crown cuttings (offsets). This sterility is an advantage if you do not want your plants to be invasive.

True/Common Comfrey can be propagated by root cuttings or by planting seeds.

The roots can be planted any time of the year that the ground is not frozen.

Buy Live Comfrey Roots for Planting

Grow your own Comfrey: True/Common Comfrey, Russian Bocking #4, Russian Bocking #14, Symphytum Hidcote Blue.

Your order includes a flyer about how to take care of your plants.

Comfrey Easy Order Page


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General Comfrey Information     How to Grow Comfrey
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Comfrey Container Gardening
Permaculture & Fruit Trees     Comfrey as Feed for Poultry
Comfrey as Feed for Livestock     Comfrey: Animals & Health
Comfrey & Healing     Comfrey Research: Symphytum
History of Russian Comfrey, part 1     Comfrey History & References

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