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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The lousewort

Crossing Jack Flat yesterday I came across numerous patches of a pink ground hugging plant unknown to me.  Not surprising, as I am no plant specialist, but I cannot remember seeing this one before, and yet it was very prolific.
Research soon established that this was the lousewort - Pedicularis sylvatica -
not a rarity by any means but an interesting plant all the same.  A lover of acidic bogs in sunny areas, this plant is semi-parasitic, taking nutrients from the host plants around it.

The name lousewort refers to the lice and liver-flukes that often inhabit the places in which the plant grows, sometimes infesting grazing animals, and occasionally humans.

The plant is evidently a useful skeletal muscle relaxant and has been used herbally to help 

overcome back and neck pain. Not too sure whether I would want to try it!

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