Lungwort

Pulmonaria officinalis

A new species for the park’s lists, found in the Blackthorn Tunnel last week. The plant was not in flower but the leaves are unmistakeable: Pulmonaria officinalis, lungwort.

Pulmonaria officinalis has been written about in British herbals since the 14thC but is not believed to be a native. There are several species of Pulmonaria native to Europe and P.officinalis may well have been imported into Britain from there for its medicinal properties.

The scientific name Pulmonaria is derived from Latin for lung: pulmo. In the times of sympathetic magic the spotted oval leaves of P. officinalis were thought to resemble diseased lungs, and so were used to treat pulmonary infections. The English common name, lungwort, is reflected in other European languages. The specific name, officinalis, just means that the species was used in medicine and herbalism.

Conservation status:
IUCN Red List – least concern.
British Ecological Society: Preservation of local habitat [. . .] required to maintain viable populations.


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