The Species & Selections Of Pulmonaria Plants

Pulmonaria Plant ImagePulmonaria are kissin’ cousins to other well-known garden favorites in the Boraginaceae family such as brunnera, symphytum, myosotis (forget-me-not), and mertensia (Virginia Bluebell). The genus pulmonaria has 16 species, but only 8 are widely grown. These include P. angustifolia (Europe to Russia), P. longifolia (Spain, UK), P. affinis (Spain, France), P. mollis (Europe to Asia), P. officinalis (throughout Europe), P. rubra (Balkans), P. saccharata (Italy, France), and P. vallarsae (Italy).

Known only to collectors and botanical gardens are other species including P. filarszkyana, P. helvetica, P. dacica, P. kerneri, P. stiriaca, P. montana, P. obscura, and P. visianii. Their native range encompasses much of Europe and western Russia. Some species are found in moist sites, while other species prefer drier sites. In the wild, they usually grow in or on the edge of deciduous forests.

P. rubra is a semi-evergreen species. 18″ wide. Solid green, hirsute leaves. The flowers are not the typical cobalt blue but instead are a rare shade of salmon red. There are several selections of P. rubra in the commercial trade, but since they have lousy heat tolerance, they are sold only in places with cooler summer climates. Cultivars include ‘David Ward’ (white-edge leaves), ‘Barfield Pink’, ‘Bowles Red’, and ‘Redstart’. (Hardiness Zone 5-7a)

P. angustifolia has been taxonomically confused in the trade. The commercial plant grown as P. angustifolia doesn’t match the traits of the real P. angustifolia. Nobody knows if the P. angustifolia in commercial trade is a hybrid or an unknown species. There is only one cultivar of the ‘real’ plant but it has an invalid name P. angustifolia ‘Alba’. There are many cultivars of the false P. angustifolia, including the popular ‘Blaues Meer’. The false Pulmonaria are beautiful plants with green foliage and are known for their saturated cobalt-blue flowers. (Hardiness Zone 3-7a)

P. longifolia is a semi-evergreen species of 3′ wide mounds of long, narrow leaves. Like P. affinis, it has good tolerance of high light levels. There are three cultivars of P. longifolia in the trade including: P. ‘Ankum’, P. ‘Bertram Anderson’, and P. ‘Dordogne’. Because P. longifolia is such an beautiful garden plant with great mildew resistance, it is the daddy of a number of newly created hybrids, especially the densely spotted form from France, P. longifolia ssp. cevennensis. (Hardiness Zone 5-8)

P. mollis is the biggest of the pulmonaria species, forming a 2′ wide deciduous mound of green leaves, peppered with either silver or light green. It also has great sun tolerance. P. mollis is represented in trade by the cultivars, P. ‘Samobor’, and P. ‘Royal Blue’. (Hardiness Zone 4-7a)

P. affinis is a deciduous species with silver spotted foliage. It is one of the most sun tolerant pulmonaria species, and it is represented in the trade by one variety, ‘Margaret’ (Hardiness Zone 4-7)

P. officinalis is a semi-evergreen species with ‘typical’ leaf spotting. P. officinalis is represented in the trade by several cultivars including P. ‘Blue Mist’, P. officinalis ‘Alba’, and P. ‘White Wings’. It has also been used in many hybrids, but because it is so disease-prone, many of the newer hybrids omit this species. (Hardiness Zone 4-7)

P. saccharata is a semi-evergreen species with ‘regular’ silver-spotted leaves, forming a 20″ wide mound. Selections of P. saccharata in the trade include P. ‘Leopard’, P. ‘Mrs. Moon’, P. ‘Pink Dawn’, and P. ‘Reginald Kaye’. (Hardiness Zone 3-7).

P. vallarsae is a deciduous species with undulating-edge leaves that can be found with both maculate (spotted) and emaculate (unspotted) leaves, forming a 20″ wide mound. There are no known commerical cultivars of Pulmonaria vallarsae.

Read the Original Article Here:
Pulmonaria: Genealogy – The Species and Selections