Symphytum officinale - Comfrey
Comfrey is a herbaceous perennial herb originating in Europe. It has large, hairy leaves and grows in a rosette to 1 m in height. The mauve flowers are bell-like and borne in clusters. Comfrey is very easy to grow and prefers moist soil in full sun or partial shade.
Comfrey probably has the widest range of uses in a permaculture system of any plant. The leaves contain silica, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Comfrey leaves, measured as dry matter, are about 15 to 30% protein which is as high as most legumes.
- Use the leaves as a mulch.
- Liquid fertiliser - place handfuls of fresh leaves in a container, cover with boiling water and let soak for 2 weeks. Strain and apply direct to your plants.
- Add the leaves to your compost to aid in the break down of organic matter.
- Comfrey roots will aid in breaking up of compacted soils.
- Due to its dense growth habit, comfrey is an excellent weed suppressant.