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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

Pedicularis centranthera

Pedicularis centranthera

Pedicularis centranthera
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Mona and Mike Price's land above Montezuma Canyon, May 3, 2009 and
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 11, 2010.

 

Pedicularis centranthera
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, March 17, 2005.

Early spring walkers will find this delightful plant under and near Junipers, usually in sandy areas.  The plant is quite small and difficult to find.  The flowers pictured are an inch long but can be up to 2 inches and are typical of the hooded and beaked flowers of the Pedicularis genus.  Leaves shown are only an inch or two long.

"Centranthera" refers to the "pointed" (Greek "centrum") and spurred "anthers".

John Bigelow first collected this plant in New Mexico in the 1850s; Asa Gray named and described it in 1858.

Pedicularis centranthera
Pedicularis centranthera
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 19, 2010.

Until Betty and I found this clump of Pedicularis centranthera, we had never noticed the stamens protruding from the flowers.  Very cute!

Pedicularis centranthera
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, March 17, 2005.

Flowers of Pedicularis centranthera fade in a few weeks, the leaves rapidly grow much longer, and the entire plant dries and is gone by early summer.  Leaves shown are three or four inches long and have the typical purple cast to them.

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

Range map for Pedicularis centranthera