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Lungwort: “Trevi Fountain"

Many many years ago in my first home, I bought a mislabeled plant. It claimed to be Bee Balm, and for my rookie green thumb, I was eager to see how it’d grow big and tall!

Whoops! Well, instead of ‘big and tall’, I got a fairly compact, part-shade loving plant with pink and purple eerily reminiscent of the colors many little girls like me adored…and years later, while I’d realized quickly it was not some unusual form of bee balm, I finally discovered this was actually Lungwort, and ended up making sure to plant it at the farm along the north side of the house, and now up here in the Valley in another part-shade area it prefers.

Lungwort, scientifically known as Pulmonaria is - you guessed it - rooted in the Latin word for lung.Once upon a time, Wikipedia tells us, “the spotted oval leaves were thought to symbolize diseased, ulcerated lungs, and so were used to treat pulmonary infections.” They like soil that ’tends to remain moist, so having it at the bottom of our oh-so-slight slope in our back yard is thus far making it super happy. It’s supposed to be a great groundcover for shadier areas, so as 2024 progresses I’ll be watching where the light does - and doesn’t- fall in it’s little area and who knows, maybe I’ll get a few more!


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