Oeder’s Lousewort – Pedicularis oederi

Alaska Wildflowers | Yellow

Oeder's lousewort (Pedicularis oederi) flowers blooming in the summer in Alaska.

Oeder’s Lousewort

Pedicularis oederi

Common Names

Crimson-tipped lousewort
Oeder’s fernweed
Oeder’s lousewort

Synonyms

Pedicularis versicolor

Subspecies

none

Genus: Pedicularis
Family: Orobanchaceae
Order: Lamiales
full classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb



Identification and Information

Oeder’s lousewort is a yellow-flowering perennial herb that stands 5-20 cm (2-8 inches) tall. It grows from a spindle-shaped root. The stem is scapelike, brownish-purple to green, and can be wooly or glabrous. The leaves are petiole, fern-like, and mostly (sometimes completely) basal. The leaf blade is linear-lanceolate to linear, sometimes slightly hairy, and deeply pinnate. Cauline leaves are alternate and smaller than the basal leaves if present.

The inflorescence is a multi-flowered cluster of sometimes just a few to over 20 flowers. Bracts are present, leaflike linear-lanceolate to linear, shorter than the flowers, and often woolly. Sepals are 5-lobed and also pubescent. The corolla (petals) is yellow, with a hood (upper lip) that is arched, often crimson, brownish-red, or purple, and about 15-25 mm long. The lower lip is shorter, 5-7 mm long, and 3-lobed with the middle (bottom) lobe is rounded and smaller than the two lateral lobes. The flower has 2 pairs of 2 stamens.

The flowers look very similar to those of Labrador lousewort (P. labradorica). However, P. labradorica is typically branched as where Pedicularis oederi is single-stemmed, often with a thicker stem.

Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

Plant contains poisonous glycosides and is not edible (nor do animals eat them). I found no primary sources of use for food or medicine. The Central Yukon Species Inventory Project (CYSIP) lists a medicinal use with an infusion of water to act as a sedative or muscle relaxant, and that it has been used as an antiseptic.

Distribution and Habitat

Oeder’s lousewort (Pedicularis oederi) is widely distributed across the northern hemisphere in Europe, Asia, and North America. In North America, it is found in Alaska, the Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, and Wyoming. NatureServe Explorer lists it as vulnerable in Montana and critically imperiled in Wyoming and Alberta.

P. oederi is frequently found in alpine meadows, tundra, or grassy slopes, often in moist or poorly drained soil.


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Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae  (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae  (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta  (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta  (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina  (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderAsteranae 
                        OrderLamiales 
                           FamilyOrobanchaceae  (broomrape)
                              GenusPedicularis L. (lousewort)
                                 SpeciesPedicularis oederi Vahl ex Hornem. (Oeder’s lousewort)

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg. 32

Classification and Taxonomy

Pedicularis oederi Vahl ex Hornem., Taxonomic Serial No.: 33356, ITIS Database

Pedicularis oederi Vahl ex Hornem. Oeder’s lousewort, USDA Database

Uses

Pedicularis oederi : Oeder’s Lousewort, Central Yukon Species Inventory Project

Map and Distribution

Pedicularis oederi, Oeder’s Lousewort, NatureServe Explorer

Pedicularis oederi Vahl, GBIF

Description and Information

Pedicularis oederi : Oeder’s Lousewort, Central Yukon Species Inventory Project

308. Pedicularis oederi Vahl ex Hornemann, Fors. oecon. Plantel. ed. 2. 580. 1806., Flora of China

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