GoldenAfternoon's Symphytum x uplandicum? (Russian Comfrey) AKA Mystery plant x 5 Established
Plant: Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) |
Already established by the time we’d moved into our first house (May 2007) it intermingles with the Stella D’Oro daylilies. It stands about 3 feet high, though by July it would need staking to remain standing because of its weight (the stalks are strong & tough). The mature leaves are about 5-8" long by 3-4" long, with raised veins on the underside, and spiky wool/hair covering the leaves and stems. The flowers are small purple bells about an inch long, which fall off when they are done, blooming from the tip of the cluster inwards. Bloomtime is usually late June, mid-July.
I had absolutely no idea what this was until this morning (21July2010), when I found it in a British book my mother lent/gave me called “The Wild Garden”, part of Cassell’s Garden Directories, which has lots of plants not typically seen around here. I had only seen one other planting in my life, this spring at the Picket Fence Motel in St. Andrews-by-the-sea. Sadly, the proprietor had no idea what it was either, as it had been in the garden when she took over 20 years ago.
WAS “Mystery plant with wooly leaves and purple bell flowers” until 21July2010, when I discovered it was comfrey of some kind. Further research on the internet suggests it is Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum). It may even be ‘Bocking 14’ a sterile cultivar, as I’ve yet to see any seeds set on it.
Two notable features:
1) While it was once used as a healing herb, it has recently been banned from preparations for sale in Canada, the US, and Europe because of poisonous—even cancer-inducing—alkyloids. So be very careful what you use it for, aside from decoration.
2) Apparently, comfrey is quite the nitrogen hog, and is one of the few plants that will tolerate, and even enjoy, dousing with fresh urine (diluted 1:1 with water).
28 May 2007
Established day 0
? Help me find out what this plant is! If you think you might know the name of this plant, leave a comment for me below.