This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
1. Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis, L.). 2. Wood Forget-me-not (Myosolis sylvatica, Hoffm.). 3. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, L.). 4. Marjoram (Origanum vulgare, L.). 5. Wood Betony (Slachys officinalis, Trev.). - 6. Yellow Archangel (Lamium Galeobdolon, Cranlz).
The Lungwort is perennial, increased by division of the root, and is worthy of inclusion in our garden borders.
The plant is dimorphic. The flowers are rich in honey, which is secreted by the white base of the ovary in the lower part of the corolla-tube, protected by hairs inside the corolla, and much visited by insects. A ring of hairs in the wider part of the tube shelters the honey from rain and flies. The anthers stand at the mouth of the tube (10-12 mm. long) in the short-styled form, and the long stigma stands half-way up the tube, on a style 5-6 mm. long. In the long-styled forms the style is 10 mm. long, and the anther-stalks are very short, 5 mm. from the base of the flower.
Photo. Dr. Somerville Hastings - Lungwort (pulmonaria Officinalis, L.)
The corolla has an enlarged mouth, so that a proboscis of a bee 8 mm. long can reach the honey. The longer elements are touched by insects with the head or the base of the proboscis, and the shorter ones with the maxilla, which forms a sheath to the proboscis, and the plant is legitimately cross-pollinated. The flowers are very conspicuous in spring, and, being well supplied with honey at such a season, are much visited. The oldest and terminal flowers are sterile. The long-styled plant legitimately pollinated produces three times as much seed as those described by Hildebrand. The Lungwort is visited by An-thophora, Halictus, Bombus, Osmia, Diptera, Andrena, Bombylitis, Rhingia, Rhodocera, Coleoptera, Omalium florale.
Hildebrand pollinated a flower of either form with its pollen or pollen from another similar flower, and found it was then sterile. When he pollinated it with pollen from a flower of the other type it was fertile.
Darwin found that when it is self-pollinated a few seeds are produced.1 It is usually thus sterile to its own pollen, probably owing to abundance of insect visitors. When pollen from another similar flower of the same form reaches its stigma it is also sterile. The nutlets are dispersed around the parent plant when ripe.
This plant is a humus- and clay-loving plant requiring both humus and clay. A moth, Anescychia pusiella, feeds upon it.
Pulmonaria, Gesner, is from the Latin pulmo, lung, in allusion to its reputed curative properties, and the second Latin name refers to the same usage.
Lungwort is called Adam-and-Eve, Bedlam Cowslip, Beggar's Basket, Bottle-of-all-sorts, Bugloss Cowslip, Children of Israel, Spotted Comfrey, Cowslip, Jerusalem Cowslip, Virgin Mary, Cowslip of Bedlem or Jerusalem, Crayfery, Gooseberry Fool, Honeysuckle, Virgin Mary's Honeysuckle, Joseph and Mary, Lady's Milksile, Our Lady's Milkwort, Lady's Pincushion, Lungwort, Mary's Tears, Sage of Bethlehem, Sage of Jerusalem, Soldiers-and-Sailors, Spotted Mary, Spotted Virgin, Virgin Mary's Milk-drops.
The names Adam-and-Eve, Soldiers-and-Sailors are bestowed because of the versicolorous flowers. As to the name Virgin Mary's Milk-drops there was a tradition that the spots were caused by drops of the Blessed Virgin Mary's milk. An old woman was weeding in a garden when plants of this species were proposed to be turned out, whereupon she said, " Do 'ee know, sir, what they white spots be?" "No, I do not." "Why, they be the Virgin Mary's Milk, so don't 'ee turn 'em out for it would be very unlucky." It was also said that from weeping, one eye which was blue became red, in allusion to the colour of the flowers. Bottle-of-all-sorts and Joseph and Mary refer also to the two colours. Cowslip Bugloss alludes to the resemblance to those flowers. Lady's Milk Sile (or soil or stain) refers to the spotted leaves, as also does Lady's Pincushion.
The plant was called Lungwort because the spotting of the leaves, by the Doctrine of Signatures, suggested that the plant was good for lung disease. The plant has long been grown in gardens in a more or less sandy soil.
Essential Specific Characters: 215. Pulmonaria officinalis, L. - Stem erect, leaves rough, spotted,
'This happens more usually in the case of the short-styled form, when half the seed produced by legitimate pollination is formed.
Lower petiolate, lanceolate-ovate, upper sessile, oblong, flower pink and blue or pale purple.