Elephant Head
Pedicularis groenlandica
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Pedicularis

General: erect perennial, 15-70 cm tall, coarsely fibrous-
rooted, sometimes with an evident stem base, mostly
hairless throughout. The stems reddish-purple, often
Leaves: basal leaves 5-25 cm long, the blade equaling or
exceeding the stalk, 0.5-4 cm wide, the pinnate segments
narrow, sharply toothed, often with somewhat firm but
elastic edges. Stem leaves alternate, several, gradually
reduced upward.
Flowers: many in a dense, elongate, spike-like cluster.
Bracts mostly much shorter than the flowers, at least the
lower more or less cleft into narrow segments. Calyx lobes
5, short, entire, almost equal, often edged with minute hairs.
Corolla pink-purple or almost red, 1-1.5 cm long, the galea
short and strongly hooded, tipped with a slender, elongate,
conspicuously upturned beak, like an elephant trunk. Lower
lip rather small.
Flowering time: June-August.
Fruits: capsules, hairless, curved and flattened.

Wet meadows, and in small, cold streams, at moderate to
high elevations in the mountains, in w. and c. parts of MT.
Also from B.C. and Alberta to CA and NM, and across c.
Canada to Labrador.

Toxic and Medicinal plant: see below.
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Louseworts can be eaten in small quantities in an emergency, but contain enough poisonous glycosides to cause severe illness if they are eaten in quantity.

The Cheyenne Drug used a tea of powdered leaves and stems taken to stop or loosen a coughs. They also used a tea of smashed leaves and stems taken for coughs.

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