E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Pedicularis racemosa Douglas ex Benth.
sickletop lousewort
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16725)

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Distribution of Pedicularis racemosa
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick stem-base with coarse fibrous roots, smooth or nearly so throughout; stems usually several, clustered, erect, 15-50 cm tall, unbranched.
Basal leaves lacking or much reduced; stem leaves alternate, numerous, short-stalked to unstalked, narrowly lanceolate, 4-10 cm long, reduced downward, not divided but the margins finely toothed.
Inflorescence a rather loose, elongate, bracted, terminal raceme of several flowers, the lower flowers sometimes stalked in the leaf axils, the bracts (especially the lower ones) leaflike, equalling or longer than the flowers; corollas cream to pinkish-white or purplish, 10-16 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip 5-9 mm long, strongly arched, hooded, prolonged into a slender beak 5-7 mm long, the beak curved down and in toward the lower lip, which is 5 mm long and deflexed-spreading; calyces 5-8 mm long, 2-lobed, the lobes obliquely egg-shaped, 1-3 mm long; stamens 4.
Capsules, asymmetrical, 10-16 mm long; seeds several, about 2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry coniferous forests, open rocky slopes and meadows in the montane to subalpine zones; frequent in S BC, south of 53degreeN; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pedicularis racemosa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 1562 2400
Slope Gradient (%) 0 31 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 195 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(3), BWBS(1), CMA(1), CWH(25), ESSF(411), ICH(70), IDF(36), MH(29), MS(100), PP(1), SBPS(3), SBS(3), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-tolerant/intolerant, subalpine Western North American forb distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Species occurs in continental boreal and cool temperate climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen­medium soils; occurrence increases with continentality. Common in subalpine meadows and open-canopy, high­elevation forests on water­shedding sites in the coast-interior ecotone.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is montane boreal & cool temperate.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References