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

Pedicularis contorta Benth.
curve-beaked lousewort (coil-beaked lousewort; coiled lousewort)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #841)

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Distribution of Pedicularis contorta
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Pedicularis contorta var. contorta

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick stem-base, smooth throughout; stems several, clustered, erect, 15-60 cm tall, unbranched.
Basal leaves long-stalked, lance-oblong in outline, 5-18 cm long, deeply pinnately cleft, the segments linear and toothed; stem leaves alternate, several, reduced and becoming unstalked upward.
Inflorescence an elongate, bracted, terminal spike of numerous flowers, the spike smooth, 5-15 (20) cm long, the bracts narrow, divided, shorter than the flowers; corollas yellowish-white or white, often with pink or purplish markings, 15-20 mm long including the beak, 2-lipped, the upper lip short (4-5 mm), strongly arched, hooded, prolonged into a downcurved beak 6-8 mm long, the lower lip 5-7 mm long, 3-lobed, the lateral lobes often enfolding the beak of the upper lip; calyces 4-5 mm long, 5-toothed, the teeth lanceolate, 1-3 mm long, the upper tooth shortest, the tube somewhat papery between the 5 dark veins; stamens 4.
Capsules, straight, 9-10 mm long; seeds several, about 2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry rocky slopes, meadows and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; infrequent in SE BC; E to SW AB and S to WY and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pedicularis contorta

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) 1165 2087 2450
Slope Gradient (%) 0 44 95
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 193 315
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(4), ESSF(26), IMA(3), MS(5)


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References