Horned Lousewort   
Foto info
Horned Lousewort
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Horned Lousewort, Lousewort
Botanical name: Pedicularis bicornuta     Family: Orobanchaceae (Broomrape family)

Horned Lousewort, the curious species, inhabits tough and sometimes inaccessible areas of the Himalayan cold deserts. The plants are tough and sturdy and the corolla of these flowers are closed in a ball-like fashion to cover the delicate vital parts such as stamens and stigma from the outside pressures. The flowers have interesting cultural use in certain Himalayan areas. The flowers are considered an integral offering to please Goddess Kali and get one's wishes fulfilled. Further, no religious ceremony is considered to be complete without the offering of these flowers in the first prayers. The women also make garlands from the flowers to greet each other on important religious occasions and to garland Goddess Kali during festivals. Horned lousewort is a robust, erect perennial which grows upto 60 cm, with dense clusters of large globular yellow flowers. Leaves are alternately arranged, and are pinnately lobed. Flowers are 2 cm across. The calyx (the tube consisting of sepals) is inflated and hairy. Flower tube is narrow and hairy. The upper lip of the flower is s-shaped or spirally curved with slender two-lobed beak.
Medicinal uses: The flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. They are used in the treatment of vaginal and seminal discharges.

Photographed in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.
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