Information on Russian Comfrey

Common Name: Russian Comfrey
Scientific Name: Symphytum x uplandicum
Irish Name: Compar Rúiseach
Family Group: Boraginaceae.
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Russian Comfrey is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This plant is a hybrid between Common and Rough Comfrey which is found frequently on our roadsides and waste ground.  A perennial, it also grows to over 1.2m high but it differs from Common Comfrey in that its stems are only slightly winged and the stalks of the upper leaves only run a small distance down the stems.  The tubular flowers (12-15mm long) are pink in bud turning mauve or blue and are borne in cymes from May to August.  The large, hairy, oval leaves are veined  By observation it would seem to be more widespread here than Common Comfrey.  It is not a native plant and it belongs to the family Boraginaceae 

My first record of this plant is Dalkey, Co Dublin in 1977 and I photographed it at Scarawalsh, Co Wexford in 2007.   

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Comfrey, Russian
Comfrey, Russian

This plant is a real gardeners' friend, however it is recommended in several gardening books that gloves be worn when handling it as it can cause skin irritation.  The plant is now often grown specifically for its great usefulness as a fertilizer.  If the leaves are torn up, placed in a bucket of water and steeped for some time, the resulting (very smelly) liquid is absolutely wonderful for tomatoes and potatoes being high in potash.