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Comfrey

Symphytum officinale

Blackwort, Boneset, Healing herb (Eng.), Smeerwortel(Afr.)

Comfrey has strong healing abilities, leading to the name 'boneset'. It will help heal bone fractures and injuries and is very useful for permaculture gardens as it draws minerals out of the soil and stores it in the roots and leaves. Comfrey serves as a compost accelerator by releasing a fine ingredient as a liquid manure (comfrey tea). It is often used medicinal, as a compost activator and as fertilizer. It stays evergreen in warmer climates, but have a dormant time in cooler climates.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Summer, Spring

Harvesting

Leaves ready for harvest when about 60 cm long. Leaves are covered in fine hairs, take care to wear gloves. Using a sickle or scythe, cut the leaves about 5 cm above the base of the plant. foliage is at its best if cut before blooming time.

Propagation

Seed
Plant seeds in spring or fall, or sow inside during very cold winter. Transplant seedlings with a spacing of half a meter to a meter.
Division
Divide any time (spring is best) using a spade to cut off a piece of root just below soil level. Plant divisions directly or pot them and overwinter before planting.
Cuttings
Make root cuttings to grow into a new plant.

Special features

Crop rotation
Light Feeder

Geography

Origin
Europe
Natural climate
Temperate to cold

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Contains a small organic molecule allantoin, which is thought to stimulate cell growth and repair and suppress inflammation.
Notes
Medicinal, compost activator, fertilizer

Personality

Family
Boraginaceae
Flower colour
Ranges from purple-violet, blue to pink, and creamy yellow to white.
Scent
Mild

Problems

May suffer from fungal diseases like Comfrey rust or mildew.
Powdery mildew
Erysiphaceae

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