LOUSEWORT

Pedicularis sylvatica

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8lilac
inner
inner8mauve
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ2
type
typeZfringed
stem
stem8round

11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
There are two Lousewort plants here, the second just below a lime-green Sphagnum Moss in the top right-hand corner.


22nd May 2009, upper Duddon Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Birds-eye view.


4th June 2006, Crummock Water, Cumbria. Photo: © Roger Foden
Grows in moist acid soils. Very short, less than an inch high. Typically six flowers grow around the minute leaves.


4th June 2006, Crummock Water, Cumbria. Photo: © Roger Foden
The calyx from which the flowers emerge is very much like that of Yellow Rattle apart from the fine teeth at the top. There are two white and mauve marks lying at the conjunction of the three parts of the lower lip. The petals are slightly fringed.


11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The 5-sided nature of the dark-purple sepals is apparent.


11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Two-lipped mauve to lilac coloured flowers, the lower lip split into three parts, the upper lip curved sharply over into a hood. The sepals are 5-sided and with several toothed claws on the periphery curving over.


12th June 2009, old leats, Greenside Mine, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The green and reddening reddened calyx with the single emergent flower. The green and reddening leaves are minute, quite thick for their belittled size.


11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The toothed claws on the periphery of the purple sepals are prominent on as-yet un-opened flower buds.


11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
White and darker pink markings in throat.


11th May 2007, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are anywhere in colour between mid-green through muddy green to purple. They are arranged like clasping hands and each ends in a bluntish white point.


12th June 2009, old leats, Greenside Mine, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are pinnately paired, and three-lobed with irregular triangular teeth.


Sub-species : There are two sub-species Pedicularis Sylvatica subsp. hibernica and Pedicularis Sylvatica subsp. sylvatica. It is doubtful if any are represented in these photographs.

Some similarities to : Marsh Lousewort, but that is erect and more than twice as tall, up to 60cm.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics : very low, growing in wet upland acidic places, 4 to 6 flowers surroundings a central mush of minute and barely resolvable green or reddish leaves.

Distinguishing Feature :

This is a  Hemi-parasitic plant, meaning that it relies on obtaining some of its' nutrients from the roots of nearby plants. The flowers themselves have a beaked appearance that resembles those of Yellow Rattle which is another hemi-parasite.


  Pedicularis sylvatica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orobanchaceae  

Distribution
 family8Broomrape family8Orobanchaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pedicularis
Pedicularis
(Louseworts)

LOUSEWORT

Pedicularis sylvatica

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

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