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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jim Riley     (Photo ID #843)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Pedicularis groenlandica
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
1540 6 2322
Slope Gradient (%)
9 0 80

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

286 10 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Elephantella groenlandica (Retz.) Rydb.
Pedicularis groenlandica subsp. surrecta (Benth.) Piper
Pedicularis groenlandica var. surrecta (Benth.) A. Gray