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

Pedicularis groenlandica Retz.
elephant's-head lousewort (elephanthead lousewort)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #843)

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Distribution of Pedicularis groenlandica
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from fibrous roots sometimes surmounted by a stem-base, smooth throughout except for the calyx-teeth; stems 1 to several, often clustered, erect, 15-70 cm tall, unbranched, sometimes reddish-purple.
Basal leaves long-stalked, oblong-lanceolate, 5-25 cm long, pinnately lobed to deeply cleft, the lobes narrow and toothed; stem leaves alternate, several, reduced and becoming unstalked upward.
Inflorescence a fairly dense, elongated, bracted, terminal spike of numerous flowers, the spike smooth, 4-20 cm long, the bracts similar to the leaves but much reduced, shorter than the flowers; corollas pink to reddish-purple, 10-25 mm long including the beak, 2-lipped, the upper lip short (2-3 mm), strongly hooded, prolonged into an elongate, upcurved beak (resembling an elephant trunk) 7-18 mm long, the lower lip 3-8 mm long, 3-lobed, the lobes deflexed-spreading; calyces 4-7 mm long, 5-toothed, the teeth broadly triangular, more or less equal, about 1 mm long, fringed with hairs; stamens 4, the filaments smooth.
Capsules, asymmetrical, 7-14 mm long; seeds several, about 3 mm long, winged, net-veined.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, thickets, swamps, seepage sites and streambanks in the montane to subalpine zones; locally frequent in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in S BC, infrequent northward E of the Coast Mountains; N to S AK, YT and NT; E to PQ and S to NM, AZ and CA; Greenland.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pedicularis groenlandica

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) 6 1540 2322
Slope Gradient (%) 0 9 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 286 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 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), BAFA(3), BWBS(7), CMA(2), ESSF(44), IDF(1), MH(1), MS(3), SBS(4), SWB(2)


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 alpine tundra & boreal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Elephantella groenlandica (Retz.) Rydb.
Pedicularis groenlandica subsp. surrecta (Benth.) Piper
Pedicularis groenlandica var. surrecta (Benth.) A. Gray

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References