Lungwort, also known as Pulmonaria, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the borage family and is known for its beautiful blue, pink, or white flowers that bloom in early spring. But Lungwort is not only prized for its looks, it also has a rich history and some interesting facts that make it a unique and fascinating plant.
One interesting fact about Lungwort is that it was once believed to have medicinal properties that could cure lung diseases. This belief likely stems from the plant’s name, “Pulmonaria,” which is derived from the Latin word for “lung.” In medieval times, Lungwort was used to treat lung ailments such as tuberculosis, bronchitis, and asthma. Although modern medicine has disproved these medicinal properties, Lungwort is still considered a symbol of good health and is often given as a gift to those recovering from an illness.
Another unique aspect of Lungwort is its leaves. The leaves of Lungwort are covered in small white spots that resemble lungs, which is why it was given its name. These spots are actually glands that secrete a sticky substance that repels insects and other pests. This adaptation is known as “extrafloral nectaries” which secrete sweet nectar as a food resource for beneficial insects such as ants, that in return will defend the plant from herbivores insects.
Lungwort is also a popular plant among gardeners for its ability to thrive in shade. Many garden plants require full sun to grow, but Lungwort can be planted in areas of the garden that receive little or no direct sunlight. This makes it a great option for gardeners who want to add some color and interest to a shady corner of their yard.
Lungwort is also known for its long-lasting flowers, which can bloom from late winter to early spring. It is a great addition to any garden, not just for its beauty, but also for its interesting history and unique features. If you’re looking for a plant that is easy to care for, adds color to a shady area, and has a fascinating history, Lungwort is an excellent choice.
Another interesting fact about Lungwort is that it is a host plant for several species of butterflies and moths. The caterpillars of the Common Blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) and the Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) feed on the leaves of Lungwort. The plant’s nectar-rich flowers also attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden.
Lungwort is also a great plant for naturalizing in woodlands and wild gardens. The plant prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate dry conditions once established. It is a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures and can be grown in zones 3-8. It is also a great option for rock gardens, as it can tolerate rocky soil.
There are many different cultivars of Lungwort available, each with their own unique characteristics. Some cultivars have blue flowers, while others have pink or white flowers. Some cultivars have variegated leaves, while others have leaves that are green or silver. Some cultivars are compact and ideal for small gardens, while others are larger and can be used as a ground cover.
In addition to its beauty and unique features, Lungwort is also easy to care for. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and should be planted in a location that receives partial shade. It should be fertilized in the spring with a balanced fertilizer and should be kept evenly moist. The plant can be divided every few years to promote healthy growth.
Lungwort is a beautiful and fascinating plant with a rich history and unique features. Its medicinal properties, leaf spots, adaptability to low light, and long-lasting flowers make it an interesting and valuable addition to any garden. It’s also a great option for gardeners looking to add some color and interest to a shady corner of their yard. With its hardiness, beauty, and historical significance, it’s not hard to see why Lungwort is such a popular plant among gardeners.