Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’

A nod of appreciation to egschiller@Flickr for contributing today’s image (Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool | original image). Thank you!

Lindsay Bourque wrote today’s entry:

Pulmonaria, commonly known as lungwort, has a long history as a garden plant as a fixture in the medieval physic garden. Believing that the spotted leaves of Pulmonaria represented diseased lungs (pulmo – Latin for lung), lungwort was used for centuries to treat ulcerated and diseased lungs based on the idea of sympathetic magic, which became formalized in the Doctrine of Signatures. Now primarily grown for its ornamental value, one of the charms of this shade-loving plant is the change in floral color from pink to blue. The cultivar in today’s photo, ‘Roy Davidson’, a hybrid between European species Pulmonaria saccharata and Pulmonaria longifolia, has a more consistent flowering color and is also cultivated to be mildew resistant as powdery mildew can be a problem in both of the parent plants.

The change in floral color is thought to be a pollination indicator to bees (who are the primary pollinators of lungwort) and who are also very sensitive to the ultraviolet light spectrum—the change of floral color indicates to the pollinator when the pollen and nectar are ripe for the taking. If you’ve ever looked closely at the species, you may have also noticed that some stamens extend beyond styles and some that don’t—this isn’t random variation but rather what is termed heterostyly—a characteristic that ensures cross-pollination of the pin flowers and thrum flowers.

Pulmonaria 'Roy Davidson'

11 responses to “Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’”

  1. Heather

    There is definitely more to this unassuming flower than meets the eye. Thanks for the information.

  2. Vicki

    The macro shots on plants such as this are just amazing – thank you so much! The info provided is equally appreciated and savored.

  3. deanna wheeler

    I bought this late last season and knew very little about it. The blooms are very pretty, and I am glad to know what I have. Thanks.

  4. GregHolmes

    The doctrine of signatures reminded me of a story a neighbour told me about God putting his finger print on the leaf of the sorrel that was good to eat.

  5. Bonnie

    This is so neat. Plants I never get to see. 🙂

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you just a great write up i enjoy
    reading about the legends of flowers
    i sometimes think we lose sight of the past
    and how much the old writeings can inform us
    lovely flower just lovely

  7. Donald DeLano

    Charmed us again with a ‘breath’ taking shot (love puns). Hope the vacation was everything you hoped for.

  8. sheila

    I now fully understand pin and thrum flowers and heterostyly. Excellent links and explaination.
    Thanks Lindsay

  9. Larry Truett

    Beautiful shot! I used to have this back in my Connecticut garden, was one of my shade loving favorites.

  10. Walt

    FYI: Roy Davidson had a wonderful large garden south of Bellevue,Washington with many rare and well tended plants. He also was the author of a book on Lewisia, one of his many plant interests.

  11. Ron B

    According to T. Avent at
    it originated in Roy’s garden, and is important as a parent of subsequent hybrid selections.

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