Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Invasive Plant

Common comfrey

Symphytum officinale
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Toxic to livestock and humans

About This Species

Common comfrey is an herbaceous, perennial plant that is native to western Asian and Europe. It was likely deliberately introduced as a medicinal crop. It can be found growing in shady, rich soils near riparian areas or in roadside ditches. It primarily reproduces vegetatively and is notoriously difficult to remove due to its tendency to sprout whole plants from small root fragments. Its large taproot allows it to bioaccumulate nutrients in the soil and outcompete native plants.  

How to Identify

Common comfrey can grow quite large and range in height from 0.6-1 m with a bristly stem. 

Flowers are drooping and hang like bluebells. Flowers range in color from white to light purple (and may be striped) and appear in the summer months. 

Its leaves are 15-30 cm long, egg-shaped or oblong pointed and fuzzy. 

Credit: Ohio State Weed Lab, Ohio State University,

Take Action

Prevention is the best approach.



Learn about best practices

Prevention is the best approach. If you have an infestation of comfrey in your area, repeated mowing prior to flowering can help minimize the spread of this plant. Herbicides are also an option.

A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of Common comfrey include:


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