Common Lousewort
Fact File
Taken at Ardmore Point on 27th May 2018 using Panasonic Lumix LX5 in macro mode.




 




 
Common Lousewort.
Latin Name :
Family:
Habit:
AKA:
Pedicularis Sylvatica.
Orobanchaceae.
Perenial.

Habitat:
Blooms:
Height:
Feature:

Damp acid soils of heaths, bogs and moors
April - July.
To a maximum height of 20 cms.
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, hence the latin name Pedicularis from the Latin, Pedis, meaning Louse.
A more probable explanation for the link to lice in sheep could be that the Lousewort transmits liver-flukes, the parasitic worms which rot the livers of sheep. Lousewort thrives in damp places and may well be submerged in water in the winter. In these conditions, snails carrying embryo liver-flukes often cling to vegetation and and could be transferred to grazing sheep. Sheep infected with liver-flukes are almost certainly infected with lice too.