Pulmonaria is a very early spring blooming plant with a strange, common name of Lungwort. The scientific name Pulmonaria is derived from Latin pulmo (lung). For centuries it was used as a medicinal herb, the spotted oval leaves of P. officinalis were thought to symbolize diseased lungs, and so were used to treat pulmonary infections.
This is a great plant for attracting bees to your garden early in the season. Lungworts are evergreen or herbaceous perennials that form clumps or rosettes. It’s basically a woodland plant and prefers either a shady location or at least a damp one.
The upper surface of the leaves has tiny bumps and it is quite hairy. The leaves of this host plant are eaten by the caterpillars of the moth Ethmia pusiella.
There are many varieties of Pulmonaria, but officinalis, with its pink and purple flowers is probably best for bees. This is a favourite of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee, as this species of solitary bee is on the wing as early as February, just when the Lungwort flowers appear. It also loved by spring bumblebees for the same reason.