LOUSEWORTS: Arctic Post #6

Lousewort? It sounds like something you should attack with disinfectant. What an ugly name for something so beautiful. Let’s take it apart. “Wort” has nothing to do with its unfortunate homonym “wart” (or at least it didn’t until J.K. Rowling turned hogwort into Hogwarts). It’s simply an Old English word for a plant, and it shows up in many flower names, for example, coralwort, honeywort, lilywort, none of which sound particularly menacing. It’s the “louse” part that can’t be elevated by etymology; it really refers to lice. People used to think that the plant was infested with vermin and that animals grazing on it would also become infested.

We have a few louseworts in the Canadian Rockies, and although they are pretty, they are not spectacular. To see the full glory of the lousewort, you have to go to the Arctic.

#41 Arctic Loussewort and caribou antler

Arctic lousewort and caribou antler

 

#40 Capitate Lousewort

Capitate lousewort

 

#42 Arctic Lousewort

Arctic lousewort

 

#89 Wooly Lousewort

 Oops! How did an arctic willow get in here? My mistake. But it’s beautiful anyway.

 

#112 Sudetan Lousewort

Sudetan lousewort

 

#113 Sudetan Lousewort

Sudetan lousewort

 

IMG_0292

Wooly lousewort

3 thoughts on “LOUSEWORTS: Arctic Post #6

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