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UNSPOTTED LUNGWORT, PULMONARIA OBSCURA DUMORTIER - A NATIVE SPECIES IN SUFFOLK C. R. BIRKINSHAW & M. N. SANFORD Lungwort plants growing in three woods near Burgate have previously been identified as Pulmonaria officinalis L. and were not acknowledged as native, probably because of the frequency of this species in gardens. The population has recently been re-determined as P. obscura and its status as a rare British native requiring protection recognised. History A population of Lungwort has been known at Burgate Wood in E. Suffolk (v.c. 25) since 1842 where it was found by C. J. Ashfield. Ashfield lived in Norfolk but later moved to Preston, Lancs; his herbarium (including a specimen labelled 'Pulmonaria officinalis' collected at Burgate in April 1842) was donated to the Preston Scientific Society and is now at LIV. The record was not published until 1862 (Ashfield, 1862) where he says, 7 think there can be no doubt about it being a genuine wild locality; for the plant is plentiful, it grows far in the interior of an extensive wood, and has as much the appearance of being truly wild as any of the plants near it. It is now more luxuriant than usual, in consequence of the underwood having been recently cut, a fact which I noticed last September when 1 was in the wood.' Hind (1889) visited the site in 1885 (specimen collected June 3rd, 1885, in IPS) and notes 'the plant was found in profusion; and, in less quantity, in Stubbing's Grove, about a mile to the Westward. The wild plant differsfrom the cultivated form, in having the leaves unspotted, or very faintly so. This may account for its having been passed over by the simplers, and left to enjoy its native shade.' The botany section in the Victoria County History of Suffolk (Page, 1911) repeats Hind's observations and adds '. . . Pulmonaria officinalis is left to stand alone as the county's unique production. It is considered by its discoverer, Mr. C. J. Ashfield, the Rev. E. S. Marshall and others to be a true native of Suffolk.' There are two specimens at BM collected by Marshall. One was collected at Burgate Wood on May 8th, 1888. The other, labelled 'Pulmonaria officinalis L. (forma concolor) = v. immaculata Op.,' was collected from a garden plant at Milford in 1894 and had been grown from a root gathered at Burgate Wd in 1889. A note by Marshall adds, 'This differsfrom the garden form in having its leaves unspotted, a character maintained hitherto in cultivation and from seed. Its wildness in E. Suffolk appears to me (as to the late Dr. Hind) to be as little doubtful as that of P. angustifolia in Hants.' There are also specimens from the garden plants at Milford in NMW and OXF. W. C. Barton collected material from Burgate on April 18th, 1913 which was widely distributed by the Watson Botanical Exchange Club (specimens at BM, LCR, NMW and OXF from this collection). A specimen at BM has a note attached from the B.E.C. report 'P. officinalis L„ var. immaculata Opiz. Burgate Wood, E. Suffolk, v.c. 25, April 18, 1913. - W. C. Barton. Yes; P. obscura Dumort: It then quotes Ashfield (1862) and Hind (1889) and continues, . . / am not sure, but I think Opiz's name is a nomen nudum in the 1852 RÜstlin. It

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is tlie " a Pulmonaria non maculosa folio" of Linnceus Sp. pl. ed. /., p. 135 (1753), and the P. obscura of Dumortier. - A.B.' [Arthur Bennett]. This appears to be the first time the true identity of the plants was recognised. Other herbarium specimens include:Burgate Wd, May 12th, 1922, coli. T. J. Foggitt, BM. Burgate Wd, June 16th, 1931, coli. E. Vacheil, NMW. Burgate Wd, May 5th, 1934, coli. E. C. Wallace in Hb. J. E. Lousley, NMW. Burgate Wd, May 5th, 1935, coli. J. F. G. Chapple, OXF. Near Botesdale, April 25th, 1937, coli. R. B. Ullman, BM. Stubbing's Wood, April 23rd, 1938, coli. E. C. Wallace in Hb. P. M. Hall, BM. [wrongly labelled v .c. 26] Stubbing's Grove, April 24th 1938, coli, unknown in Hb. Lousley, NMW. Francis Simpson has known (and photographed) these populations for over 60 years. In his Flora of Suffolk (1982) he also comments that the Suffolk plants have unspotted or, rarely, faintly spotted leaves and records the plant as 'quite abundant' at Burgate Wood and Stubbing's Grove in the 1930s. He recorded it on a visit to Burgate in May 1937 growing with plenty of Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia L.). When he revisited the sites in the 1950s, the lungwort could only be found in limited quantity in one area of Burgate Wood and a Single plant in Stubbing's Grove. He also discovered a colony of Lungwort (recorded as P. angustifolia L. (Simpson, 1950)) in West Suffolk (v.c. 26) at Millfield Wood, Polstead in May 1949. Much of this ancient woodland was destroyed in the 1970s when electricity pylons were erected. No specimens were collected from this site, but photographs taken on May 14th, 1950 show plants identical to the Burgate population (i.e. P. obscura) growing with Woodruff (Galium odoratum (L.) Scop). We have been unable to locate the specimen with unspotted leaves from Layham (1 mile west of Polstead), 1910 in Hb. J. Atkins (at IPS) referred to by Simpson (1982) as 'incorrectly identified as P. angustifolia', but this may well also have been from Millfield Wood. Dr. C. D. Pigott had long been interested in the old records of Pulmonaria from Suffolk because it seemed to be a possible native species. It was not until he visited Burgate in 1985 with Edgar Milne-Redhead that he realised it was P. obscura Dumort., which he had seen in Poland. This species is not generally in cultivation in Britain and therefore it was likely that the well-established populations at Burgate were native. This identification has been confirmed by chromosome counts (P. obscura has 2n = 14, P. officinalis has 2n = 16). Current population Burgate Wood was visited in spring 1993 and about 30 Pulmonaria plants were found in one corner of the wood. The ground flora was almost completely dominated by Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis L.), other plants nearby included Nettle (Urtica dioica L.), Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon (L.) Ehrend. & Polatschek), Spindle (Euonymus europaeus L.), Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea L.) and Wood Avens (Geum urbanum L.) The site is a SSSI and has a good flora typical of ancient woods on boulder clay including Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula L.) and Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia L.). Much of it is hazel or hornbeam coppice with ash and oak Standards. There is

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a programme to reinstate coppice management and, in the winter of 1993/4 a small area around one colony of Lungwort was cleared to allow more light to reach the plants. In 1994 an extensive survey revealed one other small colony near the centre of the wood at a site originally discovered by Oliver Rackham in the 1970s. There are open rides and Clearings in other parts of the wood as it is extensively used for pheasant rearing. At Stubbing's Grove a large colony was present in 1993 in an open n d e used for shooting. In these conditions the plants were shorter with smaller leaves and appeared to be spreading, with many seedlings. Associated flora included abundant Primrose (.Primula vulgaris Hudson), Bßgle (Ajuga reptans L.), Lordsand-Ladies (Arum maculatum L.), Ground Ivy and Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis (L.) Garcke.) A few small clumps of Pulmonaria were found in other parts of the wood, mainly in rides or old paths. This site is also ancient woodland with much hazel coppice and is used mainly for pheasants. The ground flora includes Early Purple Orchid., Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Druce) SoÜ), Butterfly Orchid (Piatanthera chlorantha (Custer) Reichb.), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea L.) and Herb Paris. Further survey in 1994 showed the population to be stabilising but it is likely that the central ride may become too overgrown to support the lungwort in the longer term. Despite searches in all other local woods only one other site for Pulmonaria was found. This was at Gittin Wood, about half a mile north of Burgate Wood. This is another ancient woodland with a similar rieh flora, though slightly wetter and dominated in places by Ramsons (Allium ursinum L.) and Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta (L.) Chouard ex Rothm.). At this site the Pulmonaria was more scattered with small clumps or single plants mainly associated with the main ride and about 50 plants in a small Clearing. These three ancient woodland sites are within about a mile of each other. They have all been managed as coppice in the past and are now used for pheasant rearing. . The landowners of these woods are keen to conserve these sites and their flora, but it must be emphasised that there is no public access and, as they are used for pheasant rearing and shooting, permission to enter must be obtained from the owners before anv visit. Plants of P. obscura originating from Burgate Wood can be seen in Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Native status Despite the comments of the finder and other 19th Century botanists the status of this plant as a British native has not been acknowledged, presumably because of its similarity to P. officinalis. This species is commonly grown in gardens and is occasionally naturalised. It is a southern european species and does not occur as a native north of the Alps. P. obscura is very rarely grown in gardens and occurs as a native in east and nortb-east France and east Belgium. Only a small westward extension of its recognised natural ränge would include the Suffolk population. The associated plant community in Suffolk is of a type which on the Continent frequently includes this species. It differs from P. officinalis in having unspotted leaves, a lack of over-wintering leaves and a different chromosome number. Further details on the identification, populations and native status of this species will be published elsewhere (Birkinshaw & Sanford, in press). Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 31 (1995)


UNSPOTTED LUNGWORT — NATIVE IN SUFFOLK

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Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to the following for their assistance in the accumulation of information for this paper: Prof. C. A. Stace and Dr. C. D. Pigott for information and encouragement. Lynne Farrell for help surveying sites and comments on draft. Mr. T. HoltWilson and Mr. Marshall for allowing access to sites. Francis Simpson for information and photos. Hilli Thompson for the drawing. Roy Vickery and Megan Dowlen (BM), John Edmondson and Sam HalleÂŤ (LIV), Serena Marner (OXF), George Hutchinson (NMW) and the keepers of CGE for providing details of specimens in their collections. References Ashfield, C. J. (1862). Pulmonaria officinalis as a native of Britain. The Phytologist New Series VI (1862): 351. Birkinshaw, C. R. & Sanford, M. N. (in press). Pulmonaria obscura Dumortier in Suffolk. Watsonia. Hind, W. M. (1889). The Flora of Suffolk. London, Gurney & Jackson. Page, W. (ed.) (1911). The Victoria history ofthe counties of England. Suffolk. Vol. 1. London, Constable. Simpson, F. W. (1950). Plants of 1949. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., 7: 23. Simpson, F. W. (1982), Simpson's Flora of Suffolk. Ipswich, Suffolk Naturalists' Society. C. R. Birkinshaw, No. 3 Old School House, Haiton Road, Spilsby, Lines. PE23 5LA

M. N. Sanford, SBRC, Ipswich Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 31 (1995)


'S

2 Plate 11: Unspotted Lungwort, Pulmonaria obscura Dumort. This native species occurs only in three adjacent woods in mid-Suffolk. (p. 49).

Unspotted Lungwort, Pulmonaria obscura Dumortier - a native species in Suffolk  
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