Woolly lousewort – Pedicularis lanata

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Alaska Wildflowers | Pink

Woolly lousewort

Pedicularis lanata Cham. & Schltdl.

Alt. Names:
Pedicularis kanei Durand
Bumble-bee flower

Genus: Pedicularis
Family: Orobanchaceae
Order: Lamiales

Duration: Perennial
Uses: Edible (entire plant)


Flower: Pink or pinkish purple to white, many-flowered inflorescence
Leaves: Reddish-brown to green narrow, long serrated leaves
Root: Thick long yellow taproot

Woolly Lousewort Description and Information

Also known as the bumble-bee flower (Ipchuk by the Iñupiat), wooly lousewort is one of the early blooming wildflowers in Alaska, this pinkish flower is frequently seen in late May or early June in the Alaska interior. The wooly stem grows to be 5–25 cm (2–10 in) tall, from a starchy taproot. The wool helps to keep warm air around the young plant.

Woolly lousewort is usually seen with a single stem but can have up to three and occasionally more. The entire plant is edible, often collected in the fall and fermented in water, the root boiled or roasted, tasting similar to a carrot. Woolly lousewort can grow in wet muskeg to dry, rocky alpine meadows. Not typically found south of the Alaska Range.

Woolly lousewort is similar to the arctic hairy lousewort, Pedicularis dasyantha.

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 23
Pedicularis kanei, ITIS Report 2020
Pedicularis lanata, Alaskawildflowers.us
Wildflowers, National Park Service: Bering Land Bridge
The Iñupiaq name for the bumble bee flower has been lost, Alaskan-Natives.com

Blog Comments

We found one of these plants pre-bloom on the Elliot highway in mid-June at lower elevation at the edge of a burn.

Awesome! Do you happen to know the approximate elevation or location and date? I’d like to add more information about blooming times to these pages and the more information the better! I typically see them in full bloom by early June, but that’s usually at higher elevations, alpine tundra in full sun. Thanks for sharing Margie!

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