Sunday, March 20, 2011

Indian warrior ~ 03/20/11 ~ Fort Ord



Indian warrior
Pedicularis densiflora
Orobanchaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

This is the best showing of Indian warriors I've ever seen. Wikipedia says this is a root parasite of plants like manzanitas. Until I read this, I didn't actually notice the low growing manzanitas, during our hike nor in my pictures, along the trail where we found these. My eyes gravitate toward the bright and colorful. To be politically correct, Jepson's recommends the following common names: dense-flowered pedicularis, dense-flowered lousewort, red warrior, or warrior's plume. However, I doubt anyone who's familiar with these plants would know what I'm referencing if I called it a lousewort, so called because there was apparently a belief that a lice infestation would occur if livestock fed on these plants. I was amazed at the variation of Indian warriors we saw within one stretch of trail, from light salmon colored flowers to deep purple leaves; for additional pictures, check out my Flickr set.

7 comments:

Joe said...

Beautiful color. Wish we had these in my area.

Allison said...

The color! Sage green and raspberry... looks like my living room. :)

Imperfect and tense said...

By heck! That's a plant and a half! Whilst I've seen Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) in various parts of the UK, it's a low spreading plant with none of the impact of your specimens. And I didn't know the Lousewort family were parasitic, so many thanks, I feel educated and entertained.

Cindy said...

I think they can be semiparasitic on oaks too. Just what are you eating Mr & Ms Pedicularis?

John W. Wall said...

That's an astounding patch of louse--- er, Indian warrior. I wonder if Jepson dropped the "Indian" because it might be considered offensive.

Erica Lea said...

Wow, what a striking plant! The name thing is silly, because I don't see how it could be construed as an insult in this case. Oh well. You're sure getting to see some beautiful flowers:-)

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I think I mentioned I have never seen this many P. densiflora's blooming this profusely, ever! It's hard to tell in blogs if something is typical or really unusual. This is really unusual, based on my moderately limited experience in the area. It looks like they cut the manzanitas on the side of a fire road last year, so that may explain the unusual show this spring. And, yes, Jepson is being PC and trying to get people to use less insulting names for plants.