Wood Betony
Wood Betony is a valuable native flower that is an indicator of pristine prairies. Its’ roots attach to the roots of nearby plants and uptake nutrients. Thereby, wood betony parasitizes other plants, using them as a water and nutrient source. This parasitism helps reduce the vigor of the tall prairie plants.
Botanical Name: Pedicularis canadensis
Nom Français: La bétoine, l'épiaire officinale


Bloom colour: Yellow
Blooms: Spring - Zone 5 | Summer - Zone 5
Pollinators: Bees | Birds | Bumble bees | Butterflies
Sun or Shade: Full Sun | Partial Sun
Plant Type:
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 meter)
Quebec to Manitoba, Maine to Florida, west to Texas.
It grows well in hardiness zones: 4

Wood Betony is very showy when it is in full bloom. The Wood Betony is an easy-to-care for plant also known as "common lousewort." Other names: hedgenettle, bishop’s-wort, purple betony.


Found in dry grassland, meadows and open woods.
Water requirement: Moderate requirement for water, tolerates some drought.
Fertile, well-drained soil.
Easily grown in well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants tolerate some drought. May create colonies by self-seeding.
Not recommended for planting in containers.


Also known as a hedge nettle, the Wood Betony is easy to care for and only requires preening every 3-4 years. It flowers between May and July, though its leaves stay green throughout the summer. The North American version of this plant is known as Pedicularis.
No serious insect or disease problems.


Spread: Stalked on upright stems,
Required every 3-4 years. Low-maintenance plant.


Flowers are attractive to butterflies, birds and bees as well as some species of ants.
May feed on the roots of other neighbouring plants; are semi-parasitic.

Styling and Use

It has been used in prairie lands to control over domination of aggressive tall-grasses.
Lamiaceae (mint family)


Pedicularis can be used to relax sore muscles such as shoulders, arms, and backs, although there are precautions to take. As it is a plant that uses nutrients from other plant roots (although this is not always the case, they can flourish without the use of other plant roots), this can create other types of toxins to form. If you are planning on using this plant for herbal remedies, just ensure that it is not planted near a toxic plant or grass (such as Arrowgrass).


"Pedicularis" is the Latin word meaning "of or relating to lice", as it was believed to give cows grazing in fields lice. "Canadensis" refers to Canada. This plant was eaten as a vegetable by some first nations, often as a soup. It was added to oats and used as horse feed as well as a remedy for stomacheaches, diarrhea, anemia, heart problems, swelling, sore muscles, ect...

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