RUSSIAN COMFREY

Symphytum × uplandicum

Borage Family [Boraginaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8blue
(or)
flower
flower8mauve
(or)
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZtubular
 
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Grows to 1m height (1.5m maximum).


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The commonest Comfrey in most places. Flower colour varies from the usually portrayed purple, to violet, pink or pinkish-blue. It is large and upright.


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Here the flowers are of the typical blue-purple. Leaves large and stiff.


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
ome stem leaves are stalkless (like the book says) but others are obviously not! When present, the leaf stem may, or may not, run down the main stem only a little way, only to the next node, if at all. Here they are not. The leaves are indented with veins on their top surface.


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Here flowers pinkish-blue. The plant has rough hairy. Flower budss curled up in a corymb waiting to open and gradually unfold.


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The sepal teeth are long and narrow and pointed (but then so too are those od Tuberous Comfrey which has creamy-coloured flowers with hints of pink).


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Long narrow sepal pointed teeth. The corolla is widest near the end but the slight reflexing of the petals does not make the corolla and wider as it does on some other Comfreys, such as Common Comfrey and the now very rare Rough Comfrey (?), and perhaps (only slightly) Creeping Comfrey.


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
un-opened flower buds from underneath looking like velvet gloves.


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Sepal teeth are roughly hairy too.


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
looking right up their noses (not easy, because the flowers always droop downwards). One pink style each with a terminating discoisdal stigma surrounded by 5 shorter anthers.


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Discoidal styles.


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
5 anthers.


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


21st May 2012, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
The leaves have narrow wings (which sometimes curl around to resemble solid stalks (as in the bottom left leaf).


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Leaf 'stalks' are actually wings and only sometimes go down the stem a short way (but only to the next node)


30th May 2015, Lathkilldale, Over Haddon, White Peaks. Photo: © RWD
Veins like tiny canals.


Easily mis-identified as : other comfreys.

Russian Comfrey is the hybrid between : Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) and the now very rare Rough Comfrey (Symphytum asperum) which would probably score a [RRR] for rareness in Stace III if it were not for the fact that it is not native. There also exists a triple hybrid between these two and Tuberous Comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum) which has no common name (it must be fairly rare) and has a yellow corolla tinged with blue or purple and inherits the tuberous rhizomes of Tuberous Comfrey.

No relation to : Russian Knapweed (Acroptilon repens), Russian Vine (Fallopia baldschuanica), Russian liquorice (Glycyrrhiza echinata), Russian Cinquefoil (Potentilla intermedia), Russian Dock (Rumex confertus) or Russian Mustard (Sisymbrium volgense), [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

It is not native and was introduced as a foraging plant in 1870 and found in the wild from just 14 years later. It is now widespread, much more so than it's relatives especially Rough Comfrey which is now very rare. It is the commonest comfrey in most places, growing on waste ground, woodland edges, roadside verges, rough and damp ground. In both locations shown it was either near a river or beside a field drainage ditch.


  Symphytum x uplandicum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Boraginaceae  

Distribution
 family8Borage family8Boraginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Symphytum
Symphytum
(Comfreys)

RUSSIAN COMFREY

Symphytum × uplandicum

Borage Family [Boraginaceae]