lousewort

/lows"werrt', -wawrt'/, n.
any plant belonging to the genus Pedicularis, of the figwort family, as the wood betony, formerly supposed to cause lice in sheep feeding on it: one species, P. furbishiae (Furbish lousewort), of parts of Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, having finely toothed leaves and a cluster of yellow flowers, is endangered and was thought to be extinct until specimens were discovered in 1946 and again in 1976.
[1570-80; LOUSE + WORT2]

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Any of about 500 species of herbaceous plants that make up the genus Pedicularis in the snapdragon family.

The lousewort is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere but especially on the mountains of central and eastern Asia. The bilaterally symmetrical flowers sometimes have very unusual shapes. The flowers of the little elephant (P. groenlandica), for example, resemble the head, trunk, and ears of an elephant. Louseworts are semiparasitic on the roots of other plants.

Lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata)

Kitty Kohout from Root Resources
EB Inc.

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plant
 herbaceous plant of the genus Pedicularis (in the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae), which contains about 350 species found throughout the Northern Hemisphere but especially on the mountains of Central and eastern Asia. Louseworts have bilaterally symmetrical flowers, sometimes highly irregular. For example, the little elephant (P. groenlandica) presents the aspect of head, trunk, and ears of an elephant in its pink flowers, which are 2.5 cm (1 inch) long.

      The plants are semiparasitic on the roots of other plants. For this reason they are difficult to cultivate in the home garden.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lousewort — Louse wort , n. (Bot.) Any species of {Pedicularis}, a genus of perennial herbs. It was said to make sheep that fed on it lousy. [1913 Webster] {Yellow lousewort}, a plant of the genus {Rhinanthus}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lousewort — [lous′wʉrt΄] n. [so called because sheep feeding on the plants were said to become infested with vermin] any of a genus (Pedicularis) of perennial plants of the figwort family, with pinnately divided leaves and spiked clusters of yellow, rose, or …   English World dictionary

  • lousewort — /ˈlaʊswɜt/ (say lowswert) noun any of the herbs constituting the large genus Pedicularis, as P. sylvatica (pasture lousewort), an English species formerly supposed to breed lice in sheep, and P. canadensis (wood betony) …   Australian English dictionary

  • lousewort — noun Date: 1597 any of a genus (Pedicularis) of semiparasitic herbs of the snapdragon family typically having pinnatifid leaves and bilabiate flowers in terminal spikes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • lousewort — noun Any of very many semiparasitic flowering plants, of the genus Pedicularis, related to wood betony …   Wiktionary

  • lousewort — louse·wort (lousґwort) Delphinium staphisagria …   Medical dictionary

  • lousewort — noun a partially parasitic herbaceous plant, typically favouring damp habitats and formerly reputed to harbour lice. [Genus Pedicularis: several species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • lousewort — louse•wort [[t]ˈlaʊsˌwɜrt, ˌwɔrt[/t]] n. pln any plant of the genus Pedicularis, of the figwort family, with pinnate leaves of yellow or purple flowers …   From formal English to slang

  • lousewort — n. any plant of the genus Pedicularis with purple pink flowers found in marshes and wet places …   Useful english dictionary

  • Yellow lousewort — Lousewort Louse wort , n. (Bot.) Any species of {Pedicularis}, a genus of perennial herbs. It was said to make sheep that fed on it lousy. [1913 Webster] {Yellow lousewort}, a plant of the genus {Rhinanthus}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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