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Pedicularis bracteosa 7613.JPG
Pedicularis bracteosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Pedicularis

500+, see text

Pedicularis is a genus of perennial green root parasite plants currently placed in the broomrape family Orobanchaceae (the genus previously having been placed in Scrophulariaceae[1] sensu lato).

Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum (Moor-king Lousewort)
Pedicularis semibarbata ssp charlestonensis (Pinewoods lousewort)


Between 350 and 600 species are accepted by different authorities, mostly from the wetter northern temperate zones, as well as from South America. The highest diversity is in eastern Asia, with 352 species accepted in China alone. [2]

The common name lousewort, applied to several species, derives from an old belief that these plants, when ingested, were responsible for lice infestations in stock.


Bombus polaris has an essential role in the pollination of the large zygomorphic flowers of Pedicularis.[3] B. polaris has a special adaption that allows it to work the spikes of Pedicularis from the bottom towards the top.[3]

Selected species[edit]


  1. ^ IPNI (Pedicularis assigned to Scrophulariaceae)
  2. ^ Species accepted by the Flora of China (not detailed here; see external links for details).
  3. ^ a b Kevan, Peter G. (1972-11-01). "Insect Pollination of High Arctic Flowers". Journal of Ecology 60 (3): 831–847. doi:10.2307/2258569. 
  4. ^ The Status of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Animals and Plants of California (PDF), California Department of Fish and Game, Rare Plant Program, 2000, p. 181, retrieved 2007-11-16 

External links[edit]