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Comfrey - Bocking 4 vs Bocking 14: How to differentiate?!

 
pollinator
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Years ago...I planted both Bocking 4 and Bocking 14 in the same bed.

At one point, I had the plants marked with flags - but my flags are gone.

We're a few weeks out from the plants starting to push out of the ground.

Here in NE Ohio, Zone 5B - will one start to push sooner than later?

Are there any distinguishing characteristics I should look for to differentiate the plants?

 
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I am under the impression that one has pinkish flowers and the other is more blue. Like you I tried to plant one for the fertilizer aspect and the other for possible nutrition, but both of my orders turned out to have the pink flowers so I think I got gyped.
 
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Rob, Burl, everyone,

If blue flowers are the distinguishing feature of Bocking 14, then I have Bocking 14 as every year they grow nice blue flowers.

Eric
 
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Burl Smith wrote:I am under the impression that one has pinkish flowers and the other is more blue. Like you I tried to plant one for the fertilizer aspect and the other for possible nutrition, but both of my orders turned out to have the pink flowers so I think I got gyped.



I have Bocking 14 and the flowers are blue.  If you want to trade some roots or small plants, let me know!
 
Rob Kaiser
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Plants will be coming up soon.

I know exactly where I planted them and roughly where the different ones are.

I also know that I initially planted more Bocking 4 than Bocking 14 years ago.

So...perhaps I'll watch this closely and keep an eye on it with some pics over the next few days and weeks.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Eric Hanson wrote:Rob, Burl, everyone,

If blue flowers are the distinguishing feature of Bocking 14, then I have Bocking 14 as every year they grow nice blue flowers.

Eric



I'll have to monitor the flowers more closely...as far as I can tell both are a nice blue.  :)

 
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I guess I don't have Bocking 14 either.  My flowers are all pink.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Scott Foster wrote:I guess I don't have Bocking 14 either.  My flowers are all pink.



Hmmm...I wonder if we're getting somewhere with the pink/purple flowers?
 
Rob Kaiser
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- https://monicawilde.com/is-comfrey-edible/

A good article (potentially) outlining some helpful hints on identification

Admittedly I haven't read it in depth enough to validate but it appears legit
 
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I have blocking 14 growing here, at least according to the previous homeowner who planted them. Here are the spectrum of flower colors I see on them.

9F27F63B-8057-41A3-B874-7CB1072B4630.jpeg
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B496755D-837E-4C22-9099-53C32C9EE4E2.png
[Thumbnail for B496755D-837E-4C22-9099-53C32C9EE4E2.png]
6090F49F-6A08-4A5F-A010-1AF98F2BFB59.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 6090F49F-6A08-4A5F-A010-1AF98F2BFB59.jpeg]
 
Rob Kaiser
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Brian Jeffrey wrote:I have blocking 14 growing here, at least according to the previous homeowner who planted them. Here are the spectrum of flower colors I see on them.



Yes - I think there's far too much variance in flower color to utilize this as a sole manner of identification.

Based on memory and other powers of observation, I'll take a photo as I drive by tonight.  

Will try to do so daily and monitor progress.
 
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I planted all #4 a month ago. If any comes up I'd be happy to take pictures but I bet by then the question will be moot.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Brian Jeffrey
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This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey.  Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants.  And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.
White-FLowers-Close.jpeg
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White-Flowers.jpeg
[Thumbnail for White-Flowers.jpeg]
 
Rob Kaiser
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Brian Jeffrey wrote:This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey.  Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants.  And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.



Cool!  Little John up in WI is growing out several varieites of comfrey.

I completely lost track of this (again) and everything is flowering already.

What happened to the time?

Two months just went by!
 
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Brian Jeffrey wrote:This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey.  Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants.  And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.



Interesting. The leaves on your white variety look different than mine.  Do you have any idea if it's bocking 4, 14 or officinale?
 
Brian Jeffrey
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Michelle Heath wrote:

Brian Jeffrey wrote:This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey.  Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants.  And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.



Interesting. The leaves on your white variety look different than mine.  Do you have any idea if it's bocking 4, 14 or officinale?




I was told by the person who planted it that it all is blocking 14.  It has been in the ground for over 5 years.  Pure speculation, but it may be possible the plants are just showing different expressions from the different microclimates?  
 
Michelle Heath
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Brian, if you ever decide to make root cuttings of the white flowered variety, I'd be interested in a few.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Brian Jeffrey wrote:

Michelle Heath wrote:

Brian Jeffrey wrote:This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey.  Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants.  And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.



Interesting. The leaves on your white variety look different than mine.  Do you have any idea if it's bocking 4, 14 or officinale?




I was told by the person who planted it that it all is blocking 14.  It has been in the ground for over 5 years.  Pure speculation, but it may be possible the plants are just showing different expressions from the different microclimates?  



Possibly?

Personally - the differences I can see between Bocking 4 and 14 are negligible.

This comes from +20 years experience in the green industry - but I can't propagate and sell from this bed.

I'm wondering if I just begin the process of digging and moving it all over the property now.

Start fresh beds for propagation new and keep better track of my plants for sale.  

This is probably going to be the best approach...especially if I advertise free "you dig" comfrey.  

Get it out of here lol
 
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Are the different cultivars of comfrey reputed to be good.for different purposes? I've only ever know comfrey as a medicinal (largely to be applied topically) and all the comfrey I've ever worked with has been either wild or the cutting I've been toting around the last 5 years that I was given off of a 30 year old cluster who's gardener gave no  name. What is the purported difference between these bocking's? Also why is it called bocking?
 
Rob Kaiser
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s. lowe wrote:Are the different cultivars of comfrey reputed to be good.for different purposes? I've only ever know comfrey as a medicinal (largely to be applied topically) and all the comfrey I've ever worked with has been either wild or the cutting I've been toting around the last 5 years that I was given off of a 30 year old cluster who's gardener gave no  name. What is the purported difference between these bocking's? Also why is it called bocking?



Here's a good link to another thread that might help with your questions:  https://permies.com/t/15975/Comfrey-Bocking-Clarification

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