Discoveries Out & About: Wood Betony ~ Pedicularis canadensis

Wood Betony ~ Pedicularis canadensis (Canada Lousewort)

I found Wood Betony growing on a steep gravelly slope upland from a lake in central Ontario. It was growing in proximity to the shrub Bronze Leaved Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), Paper Birch and Ironwood trees.

Wood Betony is a native perennial of dry to mesic soils and partial shade. It is a clump forming plant that spreads by rhizomes to form clusters.

The tubular flowers range from all yellow to sometimes with a burgundy colored hood (top portion of the tubular flower). The flowers of this plant were being actively pollinated by bumble bees.

Flowers emerge in early spring starting in mid April in warm springs and continuing into early June. Flowers form a capsule that opens from the top when ripe.

The basal leaves are fern-like in appearance and many people mistake this plant for a fern species when it's not in flower. The Wildflowers of Wisconsin book notes that it is partially parasitic, relying upon another plant or fungal source for nutrients.