WHITE COMFREY

Symphytum orientale

Borage Family [Boraginaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8white
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZtubular
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Erect, to 70cm, and little-branched.


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Stem leaves are more rounded than are other Comfreys.


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Leaf-stems (where present) are more rounded than on other Comfreys. Leaves join the stem without ever running down the stem.


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Flowers pure-white.


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Sepal teeth short and blunt


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Flowers fading or having dropped off; turning to fruit.


7th May 2014, an allotment, Ipswich, Suffolk. Photo: © Lynn Andrews
Leaves mid-green, wrinkly and with deep net-veins.


Sometimes mistaken for :

  • Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) but that has not got pure white flowers, but rather either yellowish-cream or dull purple flowers, much longer sepal teeth at least equal in length to the sepal tube and with the upper-stem leaves running down to the next leaf junction, and the stems are not nearly round but rather winged. It flowers a month later that White Comfrey.
  • Tuberous Comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum) but which has pale yellowish-cream flowers, pointed and very long sepal teeth, upper leaves which run a short way down the stem and which flowers up to two months later than White Comfrey.

Can be mistaken for : many other differing Comfreys, in particular those whose leaves never or only slightly run down the main stem:

  • Russian Comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum) but that has bright blue or purple flowers (and upper stem leaves that only slightly run down the stem)
  • Rough Comfrey (Symphytum asperum) but that has upper stem leaves which are shortly stalked (but still never running down the stem).
  • Creeping Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum) but that is shorter (20cm) and has flowers which are reddish-pink at first, turning yellowish-cream later and also much longer sepal teeth; and is also the first Comfrey to flower, flowering even before the already early White Comfrey.
  • Crimean Comfrey (Symphytum tauricum) but that has pale-yellow flowers (but still sometimes-stalked stem leaves which never run down the stem).
But none of those Comfreys are pure white! They are all coloured, either red, blue, purple, yellow or off-white cream.

Some similarities to : the blue or purple flowered (other-times red) Lungworts such as Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis, which has spotted leaves), Narrow-Leaved Lungwort (Pulmonaria which has long and narrow leaves that are spotted)), Mawson's Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'Mawson's Blue'', which has deep-blue flowers and narrow but un-spotted leaves,) and the very rare Suffolk Lungwort (Pulmonaria obscura, which has broad and dark-green leaves with pink or purple flowers) .

White Comfrey is a non-native plant used as a garden plant and which is well established in the wild, being found on hedge-banks and riversides.


  Symphytum orientale  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Boraginaceae  

Distribution
 family8Borage family8Boraginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Symphytum
Symphytum
(Comfreys)

WHITE COMFREY

Symphytum orientale

Borage Family [Boraginaceae]