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Symphytum officinale
COMFREY

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BoraginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: BORAGE or WATERLEAF FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1--2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1--4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
Genera In Family: +- 120 genera, +- 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Toxicity: Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. Note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera; treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Genus: SymphytumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: COMFREY
Habit: Perennial herb; root thick, carrot-like. Stem: ascending to erect, internodes winged or not, sharp-bristly. Leaf: generally cauline, sharp-bristly; lower petioled; upper short-petioled to sessile; blade lanceolate to ovate, base decurrent or not. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary, generally peduncled, coiled. Flower: calyx deep-lobed, bristly, expanded in fruit; corolla bell- to +- urn-shaped, throat expanded above tube, appendages 5, alternate stamens, at same level at anthers, lance-linear to lanceolate [or not], papillate; stamens attached on upper tube; style exserted. Fruit: nutlets 1--4, ovoid; tip +- incurved; scar at base, +- flat with thick, ring-like, minute-toothed rim.
Species In Genus: 35 species: Eurasia. Etymology: (Greek: growing together, from putative healing properties) Toxicity: Seeds, herbage TOXIC to humans, livestock from pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Note: Ornamental, folk medicine, cultivated for forage.

Symphytum officinale L.
WAIF
Stem: 5--10 dm, branched to not. Leaf: 5--30 cm. Flower: calyx 3--6 mm, to 9 mm in fruit, lobes lanceolate, in fruit +- triangular; corolla 15--19 mm, generally red to purple, occasionally white. Fruit: nutlets 4--5 mm, +- 3 mm wide. Chromosomes: 2n=24,40,48.
Ecology: Disturbed sites; Elevation: < 1150 m. Bioregional Distribution: s CaRH (Butte Co.); Distribution Outside California: to Canada, eastern United States; native to Europe. Flowering Time: May--Jul
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera; treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley
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Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera; treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley 2016. Symphytum officinale, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=45945, accessed on December 08, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on December 08, 2016.


Geographic subdivisions for Symphytum officinale:
s CaRH (Butte Co.);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.