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Pedicularis canadensis (Canadian lousewort)
Cressler, Alan

Pedicularis canadensis

Pedicularis canadensis L.

Canadian Lousewort, Wood Betony

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A hairy plant with tubular, 2-lipped flowers, all red, all yellow, or yellow and red in a short, dense, terminal cluster.

These low, semi-parasitic plants get some of their nourishment from the roots of other plants. The flower color and the finely cut foliage are distinctive. The genus name, from the Latin pediculus ("a louse"), and the common name Lousewort, refer to the misconception once held by farmers that cattle and sheep become infested with lice when grazing on the plants. Swamp Lousewort (P. lanceolata), with many opposite leaves on a stem 12-36" (30-90 cm) tall, has light yellow flowers and usually occurs in wet meadows with limestone soil. Furbish's Lousewort (P. furbishiae), is similar, but with finely cut alternate leaves; it is found on the banks of the St. John River in New Brunswick and in northern Maine, where it is classified as an endangered species.


From the Image Gallery

42 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Yellow, yellow with red veins, red, sometimes purple.


USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Manitoba to Quebec; south through c. Maine to Florida; west to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas; north to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Woods and clearings.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Conditions Comments: These low, semi-parasitic plants get some of their nourishment from the roots of other plants. (Niering)


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.3 - Miss Helen Hayes Memorial, Director's Report, Monarda Medicinal Mints of Distinc...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pedicularis canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pedicularis canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pedicularis canadensis


Record Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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