Comfrey, True (Symphytum officinale var patens), packet of 20 seeds, organic

$4.95

Family:  Borage (Boraginaceae)

Hardy to Zones 3 to 9

(True Comfrey) (Symphytum officinalis)  Herbaceous perennial native to Europe. There is a white/cream flowered type and a purple flowered type.  This is the purple flowered type.  The plant grows true from seed. Traditional usage (TWM): Cell proliferation, cuts, scrapes, deep injuries. Source of allantoin, mucopolysaccharides and also potentially toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  Often recommended for external use only. Commonly employed as a companion plant to orchard trees and as an ingredient in compost tea and compost piles. High in protein, the leaves make a good feed for chickens and pigs, may be added to the feed of all domestic animals, helping maintain good health and weight gain.  Comfrey prefers a full to part sun position with rich, moist, but well-drained soil.  Sow the seed just under the surface and tamp in securely.  Sown directly in warm soils, germination usually occurs within 30 days. A 30 day period of cold, moist refrigeration followed by planting in warm conditions will speed germination appreciably.  Grow the seedlings out in pots for about 3 months, then transplant to the garden.  You can also direct-seed into a fertile bed in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.  If you don’t want the plants to spread, then cut them back when they make flowers, and mulch the crowns with the leaves.  This will keep the seed from maturing and dropping, and will quickly improve the soil and contribute to the formation of large, healthy and happy plants.

20 seeds/pkt., Certified Organically Grown

 

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  1. Question

    Amanda

    I have some seeds that a friend gave me. I live in northeast Florida and tried last year to refrigerate some in a bag of potting soil for 30 days like the packet suggests, but nothing seemed to happen. Can you please tell me when and how best to plant the seeds here?

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Amanda,
      True comfrey seeds contain an innate dormancy. You can observe this by the fact that the plant drops seeds in the summer and they don’t germinate until the following spring. In Florida, where the winters are quite mild, it does make sense to refrigerate in moist medium. All this does is break dormancy–the seed coat softens, the seed swells–germination occurs after the seed is planted to warm medium. If you want true comfrey fast, order the true comfrey crown cuttings. They always satisfy. richo

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  2. Question

    Kristy

    I had no idea there was any toxicity in this plant until I googled its growth habits. I just received seeds and am starting my own medicinal garden. I use comfrey with plantain and calendula often for a salve. We use it all the time for cracked skin, bruises, scrapes you name it! Should I remove it from my salve? Our usage of it extends way beyond the 10 day period the powers that be suggest. We have no livestock. I am growing it strictly for my salves ect. Can you advise ? Thanks! 🙂

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Kristy,
      The powers that be misguide egregiously on Symphytum. Herbalists have been using the plant safely for thousands of years. There is no concern for external usage–if you remove it from your salve, your salve will suffer.
      Richo

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    • Kristy

      Phew! Awesome thanks friend 🙂

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    • Brian

      Is this the same comfrey that blooms in the spring for bees? Or is that the native comfrey to North American?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Brian, There’s no true comfrey (Symphytum) thats native to North America although there are some escaped plants that reside in the wild, especially in the New England states and these are sometimes the original N European strain that has cream-colored flowers. Light blue flowers in the early spring on a comfrey-looking plant are Cynoglossom, another Borage family plant, much maligned, but pretty. Richo

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  3. One person found this helpful
    hend3627

    Excited

    hend3627 (verified owner)

    Purchased these seeds and very happy with the amount of comfrey I have now. Ended up sharing many of the plants with family and friends and I still have several in my front and back yards. Very excited for this turnout and very happy with the product.

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  4. One person found this helpful

    Question

    Monique

    Hi- I keep reading on the web and in books that comfrey is great to feed to livestock yet not safe for humans due to the potentially toxic PAs. How can it be safe for animals ? Wondering if you knew the answer-,thank you

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    • 1 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      The question is perceptive. The answer is 2-part: 1) the liver toxic potential of comfrey in humans is overblown, but since the powers that be are so adamant about it, most herbalists recommend using the herb internally for short periods only or externally only in humans. 2) animals are much better at metabolizing plant toxins than are humans. There are indeed examples of overt toxicity from plants that affect herbivores and ruminants, even chickens, but for the most part the quadrupeds and birds eat all kinds of stuff humans cannot. The proof is in the pudding–many farmers have been giving comfrey as a feed supplement to stock for years with only positive results–you can grow the stuff yourself and it has 20% protein, which is high, and the cost is–low. We always gave it to our goats when they were sickly and off their feed and it generally set them right. One thing–a lot of stock won’t eat it until you rub the leaves. richo

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    • helena

      Hi Richo, When preparing comfrey root for an oil soak is it necessary to take off the black skin that surrounds the root? I cut the roots up, grind them and let them dry before putting them in oil. Is this the best way to process the root or do you have other suggestions? Thank you for your time.

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    • 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Helena, it is good to give them a scrub with a brush to get them completely clean before processing, but you do not have to remove the black skin. I like the way you are processing the root, it is fine. Another way (as per making plant medicine) would be to scrub the fresh roots, slice, dry and grind to a powder, then stir this into your oil to infuse. Bottom line, use dried root, not fresh.

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  5. 3 out of 4 people found this helpful
    Richo Cech

    Admin Richo Cech

    Sir, As requested I’m submitting a germination report for the comfrey seed that I purchased and the extra that you so generously gave me.
    To begin with, I’m sixty years old and have been gardening seriously for about forty years now. While nowhere near an expert at least I’m nowhere near a beginner either. Decided to start the seeds in pots rather than plant them in place in the garden which turned out to be a good thing what with the crazy weather this year. Probably my worst garden ever. I imagine I’ll get hungry this winter. I still have not been able to build a greenhouse which I so desperately want but hope springs eternal and I hope to have one while I’m still agile enough to use it. The report is a little flawed because, for some reason, I forgot to mark the quantity of seeds in batch 5493. It was either eight or nine seeds and for the life of me I can’t remember which. The packages with batch number 4955 on the label each had ten seeds as stated. I used a mix of clay and plastic pots with new potting soil purchased for the test. Pots were placed in trays on my porch as I had nowhere else to put them. Both lot numbers performed similarly, no major difference between them. I must say that at one point I almost gave up and chucked the pots as the quickest seed to germinate took twenty-one days and the slowest took thirty days. I am puzzled by the lengthy germination time I encountered. I can see how someone that was more of a novice than me might give up on the seeds if they hadn’t seen any sign of germination after three or four weeks. I was beginning to wonder myself, but had no other use for the pots or the space so left them alone.
     
    As to the final germination results. I haven’t been in school for many, many years and math was never my forte, so I hope you will forgive me for not giving you percentages of germination. Lot number 4955. Twenty seeds planted. Seventeen seedlings obtained. Lot number 5493 marked summer 09. Eight or nine? seeds planted. Seven seedlings obtained. JC Mid-North Indiana Zone 5

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    • Vim

      Hi are these Russian bocking 14 seeds ?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Vim, Actually, these are the elegant True Comfrey. Russian comfrey is a sterile hybrid and so makes no seeds. richo

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    • Jill Caponi

      I want to grow comphrey for the bees and for mulch and compost, but have read SO MANY horror stories about it taking over everything and even ending up in neighboring yards. I don’t have time or energy to dead head lots of plants. Should I not plant this?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Jill,
      Well, as you know a person can generate a thousand positive words and they fall right to the ground while one negative word travels the whole world ’round. I personally am a plant advocate and have found that all plants have their place in nature. Personally, I’ve gardened together with comfrey for 40 years, and I still garden, and the comfrey has moved around some, and so have I. There’s really nothing better than comfrey for the applications you’re talking about and quite a bit more.
      Richo

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    • Cindy

      Two years ago (2019) a friend gave me some true comfrey seed. Last year, I planted a dozen of the seed in seed starting containers. Five of those seed sprouted. Two of the seedlings survived—one a vigorous plant, one not so vigorous. In September, I planted both plants (one from 2-gallon container, one from 1-gallon container) out into a garden bed that gets morning sun and afternoon deciduous tree shade (in Southern Black Hills South Dakota, Zone 4b). I’m excited to see that both plants have survived the winter and have some leaves up—one plant still more vigorous than the other. I am assuming that true comfrey typically starts blooming in it’s second growing season. Is that correct? If that is correct, I am guessing that maybe only the more vigorous plant will bloom this year. If so, I’m wondering if true comfrey plants are self-fertile for producing viable seed?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Cindy,
      True comfrey makes fertile seeds. You are right, the plant will tend to flower and make seeds in the first or second year and ongoing. The Black Hills have a pretty cold winter!
      Richo

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    • Cindy

      Thank you for the information. My very specific question is: Will a single true comfrey plant, blooming by itself, produce fertile seeds or does there need to be a second true comfrey plant nearby, blooming at the same time, that is not a root division from the same plant as the first (as is the case with many fruit tree cultivars that are propagated by scion wood cuttings from the original selection and require pollen from a different cultivar for fruit set)?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Cindy, True Comfrey is self-fertile, only one plant is required. Richo

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    • Dannetta Wentworth

      Is this the same comfrey you can use to make a compost tea with?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      yes, although many gardeners use russian comfrey for that.

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