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   The genus name, "Pedicularis", given by Linnaeus in 1753, is derived from the Latin "pediculus", "louse".  A bygone belief had it that the plant gave lice to people and cattle.  Or, according to some sources, the plant was thought to cure people or cattle of lice!  "Wort" is from the Old English, "wyrt", meaning "plant" (Figwort, Spiderwort, Spleenwort).  Many members of the Pedicularis genus are also commonly called "Wood Betony".

To yellow Pedicularis   To Pedicularis racemosa    To Pedicularis groenlandica

 This is a native species.

Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorum

Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorumSynonym: Pedicularis scopulorum. (Alpine Lousewort).
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Sub-alpine and alpine.  Rocky areas, wet areas, tundra. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 17, 2010.

Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorum
Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorumSynonym: Pedicularis scopulorum. (Alpine Lousewort).
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Sub-alpine and alpine.  Rocky areas, wet areas, tundra. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 17, 2010.

This stunning plant is a rare treat in high mountain meadows and on tundra. As the map below indicates, Pedicularis scopulorum is found almost exclusively in the Colorado Rockies. When it is present, you know it immediately. The only other plant with which it might be confused is Pedicularis groenlandica, another beautifully exotic, but very common, member of this genus.

Carl von Willdenow named the species Pedicularis sudetica around 1800; Asa Gray at first renamed the species Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorum but then changed the name (probably in the mid-1800s) to Pedicularis scopulorum.

"Sudetica" apparently refers to the Sudentland of Czechoslovakia and Poland, most likely the origin of the first collections of P. sudetica; the species is found in Europe and Asia as well as in North America. "Scopulorum" is Latin for "of rocky places", sometimes, as here, interpreted as meaning, "from the Rocky Mountains".

Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorum

Pedicularis sudetica subspecies scopulorumSynonym: Pedicularis scopulorum. (Alpine Lousewort).
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Sub-alpine and alpine.  Rocky areas, wet areas, tundra. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 17, 2010.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Pedicularis sudetica ssp. scopulorum

Range map for Pedicularis sudetica ssp. scopulorum