KelsaeJohn's picture


Observed: 5th June 2013 By: KelsaeJohnKelsaeJohn’s reputation in PlantsKelsaeJohn’s reputation in PlantsKelsaeJohn’s reputation in PlantsKelsaeJohn’s reputation in Plants

New Photo's added and additional details recorded
Pic. 3 shows decurrent middle leaves.
Pic. 4 & 5 shows a small piece of the tuber.
Pic 5 shows where the plant is growing (growing medium - Sand)
Companion plants: Russian comfrey (or the hybrid type) Not examined yet - dominant: also Cow Parsley
Pic 6 shows the general locale from the position of the plant in question

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Tuberous Comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum) interacts


Chris Metherell's picture


This doesn't look quite right for S. officinale to me as the leaves don't seem to be decurrent down the stem.

Chris Metherell
BSBI VC Recorder
North Northumberland

KelsaeJohn's picture


Hi Chris,
Perhaps the photo doesn't show it clearly enough but I did make a point of looking at the plant and the leaves did extend quite a way down the stem and wrapped tightly around it.

KelsaeJohn's picture


Hi Greame,

I am curious. S. tuberosum isn't even listed in my field guide. If I were to go back, what features would I look for that would distinguish?



cicuta58's picture


Not easy. The ultimate test is to dig one up and see if it has tubers on the rhizomes. If you are careful it will re-plant OK. Stace gives glabrous shiney nutlets for officinale and minutely tuberculate dull ones for tuberosum.


lavateraguy's picture


Per Stace


* stems well branched, to 1.5m
* calyx divided 65-80% of the way to the base
* corolla cream, or purplish, sometimes striped
* stem leaves sessile, long decurrent

bohemicum (diploid cytotype of officinale

* stems usually <1m.
* calyx divided 65-80% of the way to the base
* corolla pale cream
* stem leaves sessile, long decurrent


* stems little or not branched, to 60cm
* calyx divided 75-90% of the way to the base
* corolla pale yellow
* stem leaves shortly decurrent

When you take into account the possibility of a small officinale these don't offer a clear cut distinction.

Streeter says that in tuberosum the middle stem leaves are the largest, while in officinale (and orientale) the lower stem leaves are the largest.

lavateraguy's picture


I thought at first sight that this was more likely to be tuberosum than officinale, but between not recalling the differences off hand and the limitations of photographs as evidence I put it to one side until I could check the books, and Graeme bet me to identification as tuberosum.

Neither tuberosum nor officinale is particularly common around here, but I have the impression that officinale has a habit like uplandicum, while tuberosum is has ground covering habit like grandiflorum and hidcotense.

I haven't seen any text that says this, but the illustration in Streeter shows tuberosum as having leaves with entire margins and officinale as having leaves with crenate margins. That tips me from uncertain to an identification as tuberosum.

KelsaeJohn's picture

Re-visit to Comfrey

To all who cotributed to this post - I have now added new information and photo's. Can anyone now make a positive I.D.?

cicuta58's picture


I stick to tuberosum!