Index- plants in this Family
Scrophulariaceae / Figwort
Canadian Lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis)
Canadian Lousewort is also known as Common Lousewort, Wood Betony and just Lousewort.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 40cm in height (16inches). The entire plant is hairy.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf has many lobes or is divided finely (almost fernlike).
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are yellow and redish brown sometimes redish. Blooms first appear in early spring and continue into late spring.
Habitat: Well drained, rich woods.
Range: From Florida and Texas north into Canada.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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The names come from the old world belief that livestock that grazed on this plant would get lice. They would, of course, though not due to anything they ate.

Historical Lore: Native Americans ate the leaves collected early in the season in soup or as a green like spinach and put the chopped root into the food they gave to their pony to fatten it and make it vicious to all but it's owner. They considered the root a love charm. Sometimes young men would carry the root when they intended to make advances on a potential lover. It was secretly, perhaps maliciously, put in the food of an intended as a aphrodisiac. Another, less evil use was to bring estranged couples back together by placing it in a dish they were going to eat in common.

Medical Uses: A root tea was used by Native Americans for internal swellings and a root poultice for external swellings. Also used for digestive problems and in cough medicines Early herbal healers considered the entire plant a tonic, sedative and astringent.

Similar Species: Swamp Lousewort (P. Lanceolata) is similar. It is not hairy, has opposite leaves, lives in moist areas and blooms in the fall.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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