Heathland plants

Lousewort

Lousewort

Lousewort is widespread throughout the New Forest.

It is common in much of UK except the south-east, East Anglia and the Home Counties where it has declined and is now very restricted due to ‘improvement’ of the damp, rough ground that it favours.

Lousewort will grow in damp open grasslands on acid soils. The damp grasslands and bog edges of the New Forest suit it perfectly. As with many grassland flowers, lousewort requires grazing to prevent the grass getting too long and shading it out. It will also quickly decline if an area becomes too dry; increased drainage of an area can cause it to disappear.

Lousewort is a semi-parasite of grasses, which means that it takes part of its nutrition by tapping into the roots of grasses and stealing their sap. Look for lousewort from May to August in any slightly damp, grassy area of the New Forest.

ID tip – Lousewort has pale pink, almost stalkless, flowers that look as if they come straight out of the ground.

  1. Heathland plants
  2. Bird’s-foot-trefoil
  3. Bracken
  4. Gorse
  5. Heather
  6. Lousewort (you are here)
  7. Orchid
  8. Petty whin
  9. Tormentil
  10. Wild gladiolus
  11. Sundew

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