northern wild comfrey

(Cynoglossum virginianum var. boreale)

Conservation Status
northern wild comfrey
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N3N4 - Vulnerable to Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Northern wild comfrey is a 16 to 32 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a taproot.

One to six (sometimes more) basal leaves arise from the ground on long leaf stalks forming a rosette. They are 4 to 8 long, 1 to 2¾ wide, elliptic to oblong, and covered with short, soft hairs.

A single, unbranched stem rises from the center of the rosette. It is covered with short hairs and is rough to the touch. There are leaves only on the lower half of the stem.

The stem leaves are alternate and untoothed. The leaves are on leaf stalks, which become progressively shorter as they ascend the stem. The upper leaves are attached to the stem without leaf stalks, and may clasp the stem. Most of the leaves are on the lower half of the stem. The leaves become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem.

The inflorescence is 1 to 4 (usually 3) elongated, flower stalks (racemes) branching at the end of a stalk that terminates the central stem. The flower stalks are 4 to 8 long at maturity, and have no leaves or bracts.

The flowers are ¼ to wide and have 5 light blue petals. The petals are fused at the base into a short, funnel-shaped tube. The tips are oblong and do not overlap.

The fruit consists of 4 nutlets, each long, covered with short, barbed prickles.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

16 to 32

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Light blue

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) has leaves along the entire length of the stem. The inflorescence is many raceme-like, crowded clusters rising from the upper leaf axils. The flowers are maroon or red.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moderate moisture. Fields, meadows, woods openings as well as under full canopy.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  12/29/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Boraginales  
 

Family

Boraginaceae (borage)  
  Subfamily Cynoglossoideae  
  Tribe Cynoglosseae  
 

Genus

Cynoglossum (hound’s tongue)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Cynoglossum boreale

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

blue houndstongue

hound’s tooth

northern wild comfrey

wild comfrey

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

Oblong

Two to four times longer than wide with nearly parallel sides.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

       
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Plant

  northern wild comfrey   northern wild comfrey
       

Inflorescence

  northern wild comfrey   northern wild comfrey
       

Infructescence

  northern wild comfrey    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Plant portrait - Wild comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum)
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About

Published on May 26, 2013

A detailed look at the life cycle of Wild comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum). These images can help to accurately identify the plant during different seasons of the year.

 
     

 

slideshow

       
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