Discoveries Out & About: Wood Betony ~ Pedicularis canadensis
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.
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.
© Heather Holm, 2015. Heather Holm