Woolly lousewort – Pedicularis lanata

Alaska Wildflowers | Pink

Woolly lousewort

Pedicularis lanata Cham. & Schltdl.

Common Names

Bumble-bee flower
Woolly lousewort


Pedicularis kanei Durand
Pedicularis willdenowii
Pedicularis lanata ssp. lanata
Pedicularis kanei ssp. kanei
Pedicularis kanei ssp. yukonensis
Pedicularis lanata ssp.

Genus: Pedicularis
Family: Orobanchaceae
Order: Lamiales
Full Classification

Duration: Perennial


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

The entire plant is edible. The roots are often eaten raw or cooked (typically boiled or roasted). The root tastes somewhat like a carrot. The Inupiat would also ferment the flower tops and greens and eat them with oil and sugar.

Identification and Information

Flower: Pink or pinkish purple to white, many-flowered inflorescence
Leaves: Reddish-brown to green narrow, long serrated leaves
Root: Thick, long, bright yellow taproot

Also known as the bumble-bee flower (Ipchuk by the Iñupiat), wooly lousewort is one of the early blooming wildflowers in Alaska, this pinkish flower is frequently seen in late May or early June in the Alaska interior, sometimes poking out of the snow. The woolly stem grows to be 5–25 cm (2–10 in) tall, from a starchy taproot. The wool helps to keep warm air around the young plant. It has a branching taproot, but no underground stem is present. The leaf blades are 12-50 mm long.

Woolly lousewort is usually seen with a single stem but can have up to three and occasionally more.

Woolly lousewort is similar to the arctic hairy lousewort, Pedicularis dasyantha.

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Distribution and Habitat

Pedicularis lanata is found throughout Alaska, but rare south of the Alaska Range. It is found throughout northern Canada including British Columbia, and Alberta, as well as Greenland.

Woolly lousewort can grow in wet muskeg to dry, rocky alpine meadows, flood plains, or sandy, silty soils.

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RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (Plants)
SubkingdomTracheobionta (Vascular plants)
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta (Seed plants)
DivisionMagnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
FamilyScrophulariaceae (Figwort family)
GenusPedicularis L. (lousewort)
SpeciesPedicularis lanata Cham. & Schltdl. (woolly lousewort)

References and Further Reading


Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 23

Classification and Taxonomy

Pedicularis lanata  Cham. & Schltdl. Taxonomic Serial No.: 33364, ITIS Database

Pedicularis lanata Cham. & Schltdl. woolly lousewort, USDA Database

Descriptions and Uses

Pedicularis lanata, Alaskawildflowers.us

Wildflowers, National Park Service: Bering Land Bridge

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The Iñupiaq name for the bumble bee flower has been lost, Alaskan-Natives.com

Scientific Description

Pedicularis lanata Willd. ex Cham. and Schltdl., Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Blog Comments

We found one of these plants pre-bloom on the Elliot highway in mid-June at lower elevation at the edge of a burn.

Awesome! Do you happen to know the approximate elevation or location and date? I’d like to add more information about blooming times to these pages and the more information the better! I typically see them in full bloom by early June, but that’s usually at higher elevations, alpine tundra in full sun. Thanks for sharing Margie!

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