Friday 24 May
Marsh lousewort (Pedicularis palustris)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Marsh lousewort fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Marsh lousewort description
Marsh lousewort or red-rattle is a widespread hemiparasitic herb (3). The stems and leaves are smooth, or have a few sparse hairs. The stem branches close to the base, and bears roughly triangular-shaped leaves with toothed lobes. The flowers are reddish-pink and the upper lip has a small tooth on each side (2). The name ‘red-rattle’ refers to both the colour of the flowers and the seed pods, which rattle when the seeds inside become ripe (4).
- Also known as
- red-rattle. Top
- Lives or grows for just one year.
- A plant that lives for two years and typically flowers only in the second year.
- A group of green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms (photosynthesis is a metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is reduced, using energy absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product).
- Plant that obtains some nutrition from a host plant, but is able to survive independently as it possesses the pigment chlorophyll and a root system.
- Metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2003): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G., and Moore, D.M. (1987) Flora of the British Isles 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. and Dines, T.D. (2002) New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Marsh lousewort biology
Although it does contain the green pigment chlorophyll and photosynthesizes, marsh lousewort also obtains some nutrients by feeding on the roots of a host plant (3). It is therefore dubbed a ‘hemiparasite’ (3). It grows as either an annual or a biennial(3). The flowers are pollinated by various bumble-bees, which are attracted to the flowers by the nectar (2).Top
Marsh lousewort range
This plant is fairly common in much of Britain, and it has a wide distribution, reaching altitudes of up to 855 metres (2) . It has undergone a substantial decline in central and southern England (3). Elsewhere it is found in mainland Europe as far south as the Pyrenees. It also occurs in the Caucasus region (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) (2).Top
Marsh lousewort habitat
As the name marsh lousewort suggests, this species is found in a broad variety of moist habitats such as wet heaths, wet meadows, fens, ditches, and valley bogs (3).Top
Marsh lousewort status
Not threatened at present, but has undergone as substantial decline (3).Top
Marsh lousewort threats
The decline of this species in central and southern England is due largely to the widespread agricultural improvement and drainage of the wet habitats in which it grows (3).Top
Marsh lousewort conservation
So far, conservation action has not been targeted at marsh lousewort, which is still fairly common in many parts of the country (2).Top
Find out more
For more on British native plants and for details of how to get involved in plant conservation visit the website of Plantlife, the wild plant charity:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: email@example.comTop
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.