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Pedicularis palustris - Marsh Lousewort

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Lamiales - Family: Orobanchaceae

Marsh Lousewort growing on Anglesey, North Wales

Marsh Lousewort was formerly classified as a member of the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family, but it has recently been moved into the Broomrape family.

Marsh Lousewort, Yorkshire

Description

It is characterised by a upright branching stems with feathery-looking leaves, and grows up to 60cm which is much taller than its much commoner relative Pedicularis sylvatica, which only achieves a height of about 20cm.

Marsh Lousewort in flower, June 2021

Distribution

Marsh Lousewort is fairly common in the westerly parts of Britain, and it is more generally widespread throughout Ireland.

Marsh Lousewort in a North Wales boggy meadow

Habitat

Marsh Lousewort is unlike Lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica, which grows in acid marshy soils, in another important way, too: it is tolerant of more alkaline soils and so grows in fens such as the Anglesey Fens on the island of Anglesey in North Wales.

Flowering Times

Marsh Lousewort can usually be seen in flower from April until the end of July. It is a hemiparasitic plant and attaches to the roots of other plants close by, from which it gains part of the nutrients it needs.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed at the Anglesey Fens during June.


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