Bull Elephant Head
Pedicularis groenlandica (Retz.); Rydb.

Collected probably near Kamiah, Idaho Co., Idaho, in late May of 1806 rather than along the Blackfoot River in Powell Co., Montana, on 6 Jul 1806 as Pursh (1813: 426) gives the location of the species as on "the low plains of the Columbia. (Source)

The Bull-elephant head has a purplish flower, fern-like leaves.  It grows on grasses and sedges on whose roots this plant is parasitic. It has pikes to 18 in. carrying showy clusters of pink-purple flowers. The individual flowers resemble an elephant's face the upper petals twisted and curled into a long "snout."  It's un-branched stems usually cluster together and vary in height from 8 to 24 inches. The leaves are lance-shaped in outline, pinattely divided, then lobed and toothed. The Bull-elephant head blooms in Jun-Aug. It grows in cool, moist, meadows at elevations from 6,000 to 11,000 feet.  It prefers moist, especially early soils and occurs around beaver ponds, bogs, meadows, and along streams and lakeshores; often growing in shallow water in open spaces. It is found throughout the Western U. S.

Value for Wildlife:
Elk graze on the elephant head in early summer. 


Return to Alphabetical Listing