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.
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.
The Kamchatka fritillary, also commonly known as the chocolate lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis) is a brown flowering plant living mostly in coastal areas in Alaska and northwestern North America and coastal...