Comfrey and Borage - Knowledgebase Question

Okotoks, AB
Avatar for psipos
Question by psipos
June 11, 1999
I know that Comfrey has been used for centuries as a soil conditioner because of its high mineral and protein content. Could you please tell me if this only applies to the Russian variety or does it include the common comfrey as well. Is Borage from the same family as the Comfrey? Can I use their leaves as a green manure for my garden plants?

Answer from NGA
June 11, 1999
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and Borage (Borago officinalis) are members of the same family (Boraginaceae). Comfrey (Russian or common) has a reputation for improving soil, but Borage doesn't receive the same enthusiasm, probably because it readily self-sows and can become invasive. The properties of either/both plants should be similar, making them desireable green manure crops. If you grow either, turn the plants under before they flower and set seed.

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