Open the Advanced Search

Norfolk Comfrey

Symphytum norvicense

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
Clusters of small blue, tubular flowers with white markings.
The fruit is a dark brown or black, 4-parted nutlet.
The dark green, crinkled leaves are broadly lanceolate in shape. The upper leaves are stalked. Can be found growing wild in south-east England but is rare.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Norfolk comfrey is a type of comfrey plant that is native to Norfolk, England. It is a perennial herb with hairy leaves and bell-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, or white. Comfrey has been used for centuries in herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, and expectorant, and has been used to treat a variety of ailments including bruises, sprains, and respiratory issues. It is also sometimes used as a natural fertiliser in gardening due to its high nutrient content. However, comfrey is potentially toxic if taken internally in large amounts, so it is important to use it with caution and to follow recommended dosages when using it medicinally.


Norfolk Comfrey: A Rare and Valuable Plant for Gardeners

Norfolk Comfrey, scientifically known as Symphytum norvicense, is a rare species of comfrey that is native to England. It is a hardy and versatile plant that is highly valued by gardeners for its multiple uses. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the unique features of Norfolk Comfrey and its significance in gardening.

Appearance: Norfolk Comfrey is a perennial herb that grows up to a height of 60 cm. Its leaves are large, broad and have a rough texture. They are green in color and are covered in dense hairs. The plant produces beautiful bell-shaped flowers that are usually blue or purple in color. These flowers bloom from May to June, and they attract bees and other pollinators to the garden.

Uses: Norfolk Comfrey is not just an attractive plant; it is also very useful in the garden. It is often referred to as a 'dynamic accumulator' because it can absorb a large amount of nutrients from the soil and store them in its leaves. This makes it an excellent plant for improving soil fertility and health. Gardeners often use the leaves of the plant as a mulch, compost, or liquid fertilizer.

Another great benefit of Norfolk Comfrey is its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. This makes it a valuable addition to any garden, as it can help to increase the fertility of the soil and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers. The plant is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including wounds and skin conditions.

Cultivation: Norfolk Comfrey is easy to grow and is well-suited to a wide range of soil types. It prefers a moist, well-drained soil, but can tolerate dry conditions if necessary. The plant can be propagated by dividing the rootstock or by growing from seed. It is a hardy plant that is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance option for gardeners.

Norfolk Comfrey is a valuable and versatile plant that offers numerous benefits to gardeners. Its ability to improve soil health and fertility, fix nitrogen, and act as a valuable mulch or compost makes it an excellent addition to any garden. With its attractive appearance and ease of cultivation, Norfolk Comfrey is a must-have for gardeners who are looking to create a sustainable and low-maintenance garden.

In addition to its benefits for the garden, Norfolk Comfrey also provides a number of benefits for wildlife. Its nectar-rich flowers are a great source of food for bees and other pollinators, making it an important plant for supporting biodiversity. It also provides shelter and habitat for other beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which help to control pests in the garden.

Norfolk Comfrey is a hardy plant that can survive in a range of conditions, including frost and drought. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who live in areas with challenging weather conditions. Additionally, the plant is fast-growing and can be harvested multiple times throughout the growing season, making it a valuable source of organic matter for the garden.

When it comes to harvesting Norfolk Comfrey, it is important to use proper techniques to avoid damaging the plant. It is best to harvest the leaves when the plant is in full flower, as this is when the leaves contain the highest concentration of nutrients. The leaves can be harvested by cutting the plant back to near the base or by pulling the leaves from the stem. The harvested leaves can be used fresh or dried for later use.

Norfolk Comfrey is a versatile and valuable plant that should be considered by all gardeners. With its numerous benefits for the garden, wildlife, and the gardener, it is a great choice for those looking to create a sustainable and low-maintenance garden. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, Norfolk Comfrey is a must-have plant that is sure to enhance your garden and provide you with many benefits for years to come.

It's also worth noting that Norfolk Comfrey is a rare and threatened species that is protected by law in the UK. While it is legal to grow the plant for personal use, it is illegal to collect or sell the plant or its seeds without a permit. This is because the species is facing habitat loss and degradation, and it is important to conserve and protect it for future generations.

For gardeners who are interested in growing Norfolk Comfrey, it is recommended to purchase the plant from a reputable source that follows sustainable and ethical practices. This will help to ensure that you are supporting conservation efforts and not contributing to the decline of this valuable species.

In terms of its use in organic gardening, Norfolk Comfrey is a great choice for those who are looking for a natural and sustainable way to improve soil health and fertility. The plant's ability to absorb and store nutrients, as well as its nitrogen-fixing capabilities, make it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking to reduce their dependence on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. Additionally, its deep roots help to aerate the soil and improve water penetration, making it a valuable addition to gardens with poor soil structure.

In summary, Norfolk Comfrey is a rare and valuable plant that offers numerous benefits to gardeners and the environment. Whether you are looking to improve soil fertility, support wildlife, or reduce your dependence on synthetic chemicals, this versatile and hardy plant is a great choice for your garden. With its attractive appearance, ease of cultivation, and numerous benefits, it is a must-have for all gardeners who are looking to create a sustainable and low-maintenance garden.