Pedicularis canadensis L.
Canadian Lousewort, Wood Betony
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
USDA Symbol: PECA
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Yellow, yellow with red veins, red, sometimes purple.
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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)
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 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 ReferenceWebref 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 ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.3 - Miss Helen Hayes Memorial, Director's Report, Monarda Medicinal Mints of Distinc...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Pedicularis canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pedicularis canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pedicularis canadensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff