Herb latin name: Symphytum grandiflorum

Family: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Description of the plant:


40 cm
(1 foot)

to May

Habitat of Symphytum grandiflorum:

Not infrequently naturalized in hedges and woods in S. England and the Midlands.

Other uses of the herb:

A very good ground cover plant. It spreads rapidly to form a good carpet, rooting as it spreads, and should be spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Propagation of Symphytum grandiflorum:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed you can try an outdoor sowing in situ in the spring. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Simply use a spade to chop off the top 7cm of root just below the soil level. The original root will regrow and you will have a number of root tops, each of which will make a new plant. These can either be potted up or planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not infrequently naturalized in hedges and woods in S. England and the Midlands.

Medicinal use of Symphytum grandiflorum:

None known

Known hazards of Symphytum grandiflorum:

No reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, but the following reports have been seen for S. officinale. This plant contains small quantities of a toxic alkaloid which can have a cumulative effect upon the liver. Largest concentrations are found in the roots, leaves contain higher quantities of the alkaloid as they grow older and young leaves contain almost none. Most people would have to consume very large quantities of the plant in order to do any harm, though anyone with liver problems should obviously be more cautious. In general, the health-promoting properties of the plant probably far outweigh any possible disbenefits, especially if only the younger leaves are used.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.