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Suffolk Lungwort

Pulmonaria obscura

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, waterside, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Clusters of red, funnel-shaped flowers, later turning blue. 5 stamens.
A reddish-brown, 4-parted, hairy nutlet. Brownish-black seeds, measuring up to 4mm long.
An evergreen perennial with hairy, bristly stems. The oval, pointed leaves are unspotted or faintly spotted. The leaves are also hairy and untoothed. Usually found growing in Field Maple, Hazel or Ash woods.
Other Names:
Unspotted Lungwort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Pulmonaria obscura, also known as lungwort, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its clusters of small, blue, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the spring and its hairy, lance-shaped leaves. The common name "lungwort" is derived from the plant's leaves, which were thought to resemble the lungs of a person in olden times. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and is often found in woodlands, along stream banks, and in other damp, shady places. It's a hardy plant and often used as groundcover or in rock gardens, it's also attractive to pollinators. As with Pulmonaria rubra, it's not considered an invasive plant and it's not poisonous.


Suffolk Lungwort, also known as Pulmonaria obscura, is a beautiful and fascinating plant that is native to the woodlands of Europe, including the UK. This plant is a member of the borage family and is often found growing in damp and shaded areas, such as the edges of woods or along streams and rivers.

One of the most striking features of Suffolk Lungwort is its leaves. They are large and hairy with green tops and white-spotted undersides. The leaves of this plant have been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems, which is why it is called "lungwort". In fact, the plant was once thought to resemble the human lung, and its medicinal properties were believed to be a sign from the divine.

Suffolk Lungwort typically blooms from March to May with small, bell-shaped flowers that range in color from pink to purple. The flowers of this plant are an important source of food for bees and other pollinators, as they produce nectar and pollen. The flowers are also self-fertile, meaning that they do not require cross-pollination to reproduce.

In addition to its medicinal and ecological importance, Suffolk Lungwort is also a popular ornamental plant in gardens. It is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant that prefers moist soil and partial shade. It is often used in rock gardens, woodland gardens, and as ground cover under trees and shrubs.

Despite its many benefits, Suffolk Lungwort is facing threats from habitat destruction and over-collection. It is important for gardeners and conservationists alike to protect this beautiful plant and ensure that it continues to thrive in its natural habitat.

Suffolk Lungwort has been used in traditional medicine for a variety of respiratory ailments, including coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. The plant contains compounds such as tannins, flavonoids, and saponins, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies have also shown that Suffolk Lungwort may have antibacterial and antiviral effects, which could make it useful in the treatment of respiratory infections.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Suffolk Lungwort has a rich cultural history. It was once used in divination practices, where its spotted leaves were believed to hold the secrets of the future. The plant was also associated with the goddess Venus and was thought to bring love and good luck to those who carried it.

Today, Suffolk Lungwort is an important plant for conservation efforts. In the UK, it is considered a priority species for conservation due to its decline in recent years. The plant is threatened by habitat destruction, particularly the loss of woodland habitats, as well as over-collection for use in traditional medicine.

To help protect Suffolk Lungwort and other native plants, it is important to support conservation efforts and avoid using wild plants for medicinal purposes. Instead, gardeners and herbalists can cultivate Suffolk Lungwort in their gardens or source it from sustainable sources.

Suffolk Lungwort has also been used in culinary applications, particularly in traditional European cuisines. The plant's leaves have a slightly bitter taste and can be used as a substitute for spinach in recipes such as soups, stews, and quiches. The young leaves can also be eaten raw in salads.

In conclusion, Suffolk Lungwort is a fascinating and valuable plant with a rich history and important ecological and medicinal properties. By protecting and preserving this plant and other native species, we can help to ensure a healthy and diverse ecosystem for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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