T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Pulmonaria officinalis (Lungwort)

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophyta
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Pulmonaria
Species: P. officinalis
Binomial name: Pulmonaria officinalis
Synonyms: Pulmonaria maculosa, Pulmonaria officinalis subsp. maculosa 
Common names: Lungwort, Common lungwort, Our Lady's milk drops, Jerusalem Sage, Jerusalem Cowslip, Adam and Eve, Bedlam cowslip, Beggar's basket, Bugloss cowslip, Lady's cowslip, Lady's milk, Mary's honeysuckle, Mary's tears, Sage of Bethlehem, Soldiers and sailors, Spotted dog, Virgin Mary's honeysuckle

Pulmonaria officinalisis a herbaceous rhizomatous evergreen or semi-evergreen, perennial plant of the genus Pulmonaria, belonging to the family Boraginaceae. It was originally from Europe. Pulmonaria officinalisis grows to 30cm tall by 30cm wide at a fast rate.

The plant was given its common name ‘Lungwort’ during the Middle Ages. It was believed that of a plant had a medicinal value because the lung shaped leaves with its grey spots looked like a diseased lung, and therefore was considered an effective herb to treat lung related ailments in humans. It is still use today as a herbal remedy for several medical conditions.
The plants basal leaves are green, with a rounded base, more or less elongated and pointed and always with rounded and often sharply defined white or pale green patches. The upper surface of the leaves has tiny bumps and it is quite hairy. 
In late winter or early spring, the plant produces small bunches of terminal clusters of funnel-shaped hermaphrodite flowers. The 5-petals flowers are first white, red or pink later turning to a blue-purple. This occurs because the pH value changes inside the petals. This colour change occurs because the flowers contain a dye that belongs to the anthocyanins which changes colour from red (acidic) to blue (alkaline).
Pollination is by flies, ants, bees and butterflies.





The spotted leaf.