wild comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum)
blue hound's tongue
Cynoglossum lucidum Stokes
Cynoglossum amplexicaule Michaux
Myosotis virginiana L.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of wild comfrey
is Cynoglossum virginianum L. There are two recognized varieties of
Cynoglossum virginianum - variety virginianum and varaiety boreale.
Only variety virginianum has been recorded in Facquier County.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: This native herbaceous perennial grows from 1 to 2 feet tall. The
erect stem is from a thick taproot and is covered with stiff, coarse hairs.
Basal leaves with long petioles forming a rosette.
Leaves: Basal and lowest stem leaves (also petiolate) are spoon-shaped
(lanceolate to linear-oblong), entire, and rough to the touch, gradually
widening to a rounded apex, up to +25cm long, and densely pubescent.
Middle leaves are alternate, large, up to 10cm long and +3cm broad,
densely hairy, with smooth outer margins, and bases clasping the stem.
Flowers: Terminal loose cymes (typically paired) in a coiled arrangement
with outer or lower flower blooming first. Corolla tubular, funnelform, 5-
lobed. Tube to 2mm long. Lobes to 3mm long, 2.5 mm broad, pale blue
(sometimes almost white). Stamens 5, alternating with corolla lobes,
grown together to corolla tube, not protruding. The anthers are 1mm long.
Fruit/Seeds: The ovary is of 4 nutlets which appear attached at base. Nut-
lets to +5mm long in fruit).
Roots: Wild comfrey has stout, woody taproots or short, stout rhizomes.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Wild comfrey propogates
itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Wild comfrey is found in open woods, rich rocky
woods, slopes, ravines, ridges, thickets, and bottoms.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Wild comfrey prefers sun to partial shade.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Blooming is from mid-spring to early
summer (April to June).
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Wild comfrey is primarily a species of
the eastern United States. It ranges from Florida north to southern New
England and extends west to Texas and Oklahoma (but is not naturally
found in the Great Plains region). It is found in the Ohio Valley region.
It is not found in the Rocky Mountain states, southwest states for far west-
ern or northwestern Pacific states. It has not been reported occurring in any Canadian province.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Wild comfrey flowers attract bees, butter-
flies, and birds. The full extent of its fauna relationship has not been deter-
Medicinally the plant was used by natives to treat a host of ailments. Can-
cer, gonorrhea, and genital itching were all thought to be helped by drink-
ing a tea made from the roots of the plant. In more recent times the leaves
were smoked like tobacco. Early European settlers used wild comfrey to
Crooked Run Valley