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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Common Comfrey - Symphytum officinale
Other Names:  Boneset, Knitbone, Consound, Slippery-root

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNA
C-value: 0

Agency Status


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General Description
Taprooted perennial. Stems erect, 30–100 cm. Herbage hirsute, hispid. Leaves basal and cauline, petiolate; blades narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 5–25 cm long, becoming smaller and sessile above. Inflorescence small, axillary and terminal, ebracteate cymes. Flowers: calyx ca. 5 mm long, divided >1/2-way; corolla yellowish, funnelform, 1–2 cm long, tube longer than limb; stamens inserted at the fornices; style exserted. Nutlets ovoid, ca. 4 mm long, smooth, black; scar below the ventral keel (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Range Comments
Introduced for medicinal purposes to much of North America; native to Europe (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 12

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus borealis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus griseocollis, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus bohemicus (Plath 1934, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Colla et al. 2011, Williams et al. 2014).


  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S., L. Richardson, and P. Williams. 2011. Bumble bees of the eastern United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 103 p.
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Plath, O.E. 1934. Bumblebees and their ways. New York, NY: Macmillan Company. 201 p.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Common Comfrey — Symphytum officinale.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from