Friday, June 6, 2008

Spring Wildflowers: Betony and Bluets

A road bank covered with Wood Betony in early spring. What a pretty sight.

This lovely little plant grows abundantly on Joe's Run. It has two common names in plant lore: Wood Betony, or Lousewort. Guess which one I prefer? Its Latin name is pedicularis canadensis, and it is a fairly widespread plant in parts of the US and Canada.

Wood Betony, according to, was believed to have many healing properties. Native Americans also used the herb for ailments such as stomachaches, and in coughmedicines, according to Peterson's Field Guide to Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs. However, Peterson's also notes that the plant is not currently being studied for medicinal uses.

(Although I enjoy reading the lore and history of wildflowers, I do not recommend use of any plant as a remedy.)

A close-up view of the flowers--look at the way the flowers form a whorl around the center.

Betony and Bluets (also called Quaker Ladies. Isn't that a fitting name for this modest little flower). These are another of my favorite tiny flowers of spring. Look at how these colors complement each other--a master painter at work here.

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