Cynoglossum virginianum L. ssp. boreale (Fern.) A. Haines

Northern Wild Comfrey

Habitat: Rich, upland woods. [Forested wetland; Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]

Range: Newfoundland, south to Connecticut, west to Iowa and north to British Columbia.

Aids to Identification: Wild comfrey is a perennial herb with a hairy stem and large (10-30 cm), clasping leaves. The small blue flowers are arranged in 2-6 coiled racemes. Fruits are spine-covered nutlets about 8 mm long.

Ecological characteristics: Historical specimens indicate that this species has been found in both northern and southern Maine.

Phenology: Flowers April - May.

Family: Boraginaceae

Synonyms: Cynoglossum boreale Fern.; Cynoglossum virginicum L. var. boreale Fern.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 14 town(s) in the following county(ies): Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, York.

Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range. Rare throughout New England.

Conservation considerations: Effects of logging are not well understood, but partial removal of the canopy would be less likely to adversely affect the plant than complete removal. The plant has been known to disappear from an area following logging.

For more information, see the Native Plant Trust's Conservation Plan for Cynoglossum virginianum var. boreale.