Pedicularis(redirected from lousewort)
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a genus of plants of the family Scrophulariaceae. They are perennial or, less commonly, annual or biennial hemiparasitic herbs. The leaves are pinnatisect or pinnately lobed; the lower leaves form a rosette. The irregular flowers, which are pink-violet, purple, yellow, or white, are in spicate or racemose inflorescences. The corolla is two-lipped; the fruit is a capsule.
There are approximately 600 species of Pedicularis, distributed in the northern hemisphere, primarily in the Himalayas and China; one species is encountered in South America. More than 110 species are found in the USSR, primarily in Middle Asia, on dry rocky slopes and in alpine and subalpine meadows. The rattle, or red rattle (Pedicularis palustris), is widespread in the northern and central parts of the European SSR. It grows in swamps and along various bodies of water. All parts of the plant are toxic: they contain the glycoside aucubin (rhinanthin). The rattle is used as an insecticide. A number of species of Pedicularis are cultivated as ornamentals.