COMFREY (Symphytum officinalis). An ancient medicinal, also creates a wonderful green manure tea for your other plants. The fuzzy flop eared plant produces pretty pink/blue flowers. You can cut and this plant comes back - which is good because the leaves and flowers are the portion that you will use for manure tea to side-dress vegetables in your garden. Never cut more than a third of any one plant, however, so that is why it is nice to establish a patch. Mine grows right next to my compost pile - a symbiotic relationship. This variety grows from seed unlike some varieties, and actually self-sows once established. I learned the hard way that chickens LOVE this herb, so if you have free rangers, best pot this up and put away from their greedy little beaks. Grows 24-36". 10 seeds. [I have just started harvested seed for this year's crop.]
MEDICINAL: Not recommended for internal use, despite its frequent appearance in supplements. Consumer Reports recent added comfrey supplements to their "Dirty Dozen" list of dangerous dietary supplements. But external is another matter. The plant contains alantoin, a skin healer. I can attest to its powers. A few months ago one of my kitties came home with a ghastly injury on its lower back - an open gaping wound the size of a quarter that had already started to ooze. I pulled one of my comfrey plants and scrubbed down its roots and then made a sterilized (in the microwave) tincture of roots and leaves, applying this to the wound for about a week. Any vet will tell you how difficult such a wound is to heal and that they have a tendency to abcess, yet this one healed beautifully and the fur grew back over it perfectly. This is one grateful kitty. You can also grind the leaves and make a plaster that hardens - hence the nickname for the plant "boneset."
ADDITIONAL USES: Fresh comfrey is excellent green "fodder" for your chickens! And you will get great results putting a few leaves in the planting hole for potatoes.
GROWING TIPS: The best way to achieve germination with true comfrey is to cold-stratify the seeds, putting them in a poly bag or glass jar with growing medium that has been moistened for 30 days in your refrigerator. Check on it periodically to make sure it is still moist (not soggy). When you see tiny white buds on the seeds they are ready to be sown into pots (preferably on a heat mat) or directly in the garden if the soil temp is warm enough (60-80), sowing 1/8" deep and 1 seed per pot or 1" apart in the garden. If sowing indoors, please harden off before planting outside. You can sow directly outside in a warm Spring, but germination will not be as good. When locating in your garden, full sun to light shade is best, and space transplants about 8" apart. Will self-sow eventually, but this is a perennial.