In this video, PGA Pro Todd Kolb discusses the pitching wedge.  The pitching wedge traditionally has 48 degrees of loft, and in its current form has anywhere from 44-48 degrees of loft, depending on the manufacturer.

The pitching wedge is used for bump and run shots around the green, as well as for full shots from short distances from the fairway or rough.  The pitching wedge is considered a scoring club as with its high loft it enables the player to hit high and soft shots into the green, allowing for better chances of getting the ball close to the hole in proximity.