Pedicularis lanceolata Michx.

Pedicullaris lanceolata plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - To +1m tall, herbaceous, erect but reclining with age, hollow, somewhat 4-angled (the angles very rounded), green but with purple vertical stripes in the internodes, mostly glabrous but with vertical lines of curled hairs in the internodes (the hairs multicellular, use a leans to see).

Pedicullaris lanceolata stem

Leaves - Opposite, short-petiolate, decussate. Petioles to 1cm long, mostly glabrous but with a few multicellular hairs on the margins. Blades linear-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, to +10cm long, 3cm broad, deep green above, lighter below, sparse pubescent above and below, shallowly pinnately lobed. Each lobe with crenulate-serrulate margins. Lateral veins of leaf impressed above, expressed below. Veins in a minute reticulate pattern (visible abaxially).

Pedicullaris lanceolata leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal and axillary bracteate spikes to +/-10cm long (tall). Each flower subtended by a foliaceous bract. Bracts with a distinctly bent petiole and a pair of basal auricles (auricles spreading laterally), folded in at least the basal 1/2, accrescent, +/-1.5cm long in flower, with a few marginal hairs otherwise glabrous, with crenulate-serrulate margins. Flowers of the spike arranged in a "pinwheel" fashion.

Pedicullaris lanceolata inflorescenceNotice the "pinwheel" arrangement of the flowers.

Flowers - Corolla white, +/-2.5cm long, strongly compressed, bilabiate, zygomorphic, glabrous externally. Upper lip single-lobed, galeate, +1cm long. Lower lip +1cm long, 3-lobed at the apex, with 2 central folds leading into the throat of the corolla (the folds bearded in the basal 1/2). Lobes of the lower lip rounded, 3-4mm long, 2-3mm broad. Stamens 4, included in the galea of the upper lip. Filaments thin, translucent-white, mostly glabrous but with some hairs at the base, 2-2.5cm long, compressed. Anthers yellow-brown, 3-4mm long. Style white, 3cm long, glabrous. Stigma minute and green. Ovary green, conic, slightly compressed, glabrous, 3mm long in flower, with a swollen nectariferous base, 2-locular. Ovules many. Placentation axile. Calyx green, 2-lobed, to 1.4cm long in flower, accrescent. Lobes with orbicular appendages at the apex.

Pedicullaris lanceolata flowers

Pedicullaris lanceolata calyxCalices.

Flowering - August - October.

Habitat - Spring branches, calcareous spring-fed swampy meadows, moist limestone ledges.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking plant is found only in the Ozark region of Missouri. The plant is unmistakable in the field because of the "pinwheel" arrangement of its flowers. I do not think I captured this very well in the pics. It is really easy to see and the first thing everyone notices about the plant. The white flowers of the plant are easily seen along the spring branches and moist meadows where it grows.

Photographs taken in Alley Spring Park, Shannon County, MO., 9-29-03.