Hemi-Parasitic Plants

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
petalsZ4
(1+3)
type
typeZfringed
 
stem
stem8round
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

1st June 2012, Buachaille Etive Beag, Scotland Photo: © Gordon Anderson
The normal pink variety and a rarer white variety.


19th July 2011, base of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland. Photo: © Gordon Anderson


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


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.


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.




Pedicularis sylvatica ssp. intermediate
(An intermediate between ssp. sylvatica and ssp. hibernica)

[There are two sub-species: ssp. sylvatica with glabrous calyx and pedicels (or sometimes the calyx is hairy around the throat and on any angles) AND ssp. hibernica where the calyx and pedicels are uniformly hairy. The specimen shown is the hybrid between the two sub-species].

27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th April 2015, Little Hills, VC41. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


Sub-species : There are two sub-species Pedicularis Sylvatica subsp. hibernica (which is a fairly rare [R] and Pedicularis Sylvatica subsp. sylvatica. There exists also a hybrid between these two sub-species, and that is shown in some of the above photos.

Some similarities to : Marsh Lousewort, but that is erect and more than twice as tall, up to 60cm. It also is claimed to have redder flowers and that the upper lip of the flowers is 5-toothed (whereas in Lousewort it is 3-toothed).

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.


USE BY BUTTERFLIES
LAYS EGGS ON CATERPILLAR CHRYSALIS BUTTERFLY
Arran Brown
Large Heath



  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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