Pulmonaria L.


Latin pulmonarius — suffering from lung disease, as the spotted leaves of some species resemble diseased lungs.

Hairy, perennial herbs with creeping rhizomes. Leaves simple, alternate, sometimes spotted. Flower clusters branched. Flowers with no scales in the floral tube but several tufts of hairs. Fruit with 4 smooth nutlets, each with a basal rim.

Mostly grown as border plants for the ornamental foliage.


P. officinalis is known as a treatment for bronchial complaints (the spotted leaves resemble diseased lungs). The 17th century doctrine of signatures maintained that a plant's appearance indicated its medicinal use.

Tufts of hairs (not scales) in the throat of the flower tube.

18 species from Europe.

Matthew (1982), Hewitt (1994, 1999).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Boraginaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image

Cultivars of uncertain origin

Pulmonaria 'Lewis Palmer'

Tall stems with large heads of bright blue flowers. Leaves to 30 cm long with large spots. ['Highdown']

Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White'

White-flowered and was once considered a cultivar of P. officinalis but now considered a hybrid.

P. 'Beth's Blue' and P. 'Beth's Pink' are also listed.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      [Boraginales]
family       Boraginaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Pulmonaria officinalis L.