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Castilleja angustifolia

narrow-leaf paintbrush, northwestern Indian paintbrush, northwestern paintbrush, violet desert paintbrush

Photo is of parent taxon

northwestern Indian paintbrush, violet desert paintbrush

Habit Herbs, perennial, 0.9–3.8(–4) dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot.

few to many, ascending to erect, branched, especially near base, sometimes unbranched, hairs sparse to dense, spreading to retrorse, long, sometimes short, soft to stiff, usually mixed with short-glandular ones, sometimes viscid.

hairs sparse to moderately dense, spreading to retrorse, long, soft to stiff, usually mixed with short-glandular ones.


brown or purplish, sometimes green, linear to lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, 1.2–7(–7.5) cm, not fleshy, margins plane, sometimes ± wavy, involute or flat, (0–)3–5-lobed, rarely with secondary lobes, apex acuminate to rounded;

lobes spreading, oblong or lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, apex acute to rounded.


distally pink or pink-purple, sometimes pale orange, yellowish, or white, 3–5-lobed.


2.5–20 × 1.5–5 cm;

bracts proximally greenish or dull purplish, distally pink, magenta, pink-purple, reddish pink, pale yellow, pale yellow-orange, pale orange, or white, rarely reddish or orange-red, lanceolate to oblong, 3–5(–9)-lobed, sometimes with secondary lobes;

lobes spreading or ascending, oblanceolate or linear, proximal lobes often much longer than distal, proximal lobes arising below or a little above mid length, apex acute to rounded.


straight, 18–27(–32) mm;

tube 8–17 mm;

beak usually long-exserted, adaxially green or pink, 8–15 mm;

abaxial lip deep green, reduced, inconspicuous, 1–2.5 mm, 5–20% as long as beak;

teeth incurved to ascending, deep green, 0.5–1.5 mm.

18–25 mm.


proximally green, yellow, brown, or purple, lobes colored as bract lobes, sometimes with a yellow band between proximal and distal parts, 13–25(–28) mm;

abaxial clefts 3–8 mm, adaxial 5–9(–12) mm, clefts 30–50% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral (1–)1.5–4(–5) mm, 10–25% of calyx length;

lobes lanceolate to oblong, abaxials wider than adaxials, apex acute to rounded.

13–20 mm;

abaxial clefts 3–6 mm, adaxial 5–8 mm.

Castilleja angustifolia

Castilleja angustifolia var. angustifolia

Phenology Flowering (Apr–)May–Jul.
Habitat Dry sagebrush slopes and flats.
Elevation 1300–2200 m. (4300–7200 ft.)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[BONAP county map]

Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).

Much confusion exists concerning Castilleja angustifolia and the closely related C. chromosa. Sometimes C. chromosa is treated as a variety of C. angustifolia, using the name C. angustifolia var. dubia. The latter name is used here to represent a different assemblage of plants, not including C. chromosa. At other times, C. chromosa is synonymized completely under C. angustifolia. However, the two species are in most cases easily separable, and where they are sympatric there is little evidence of intergradation. Both C. angustifolia var. dubia and C. chromosa are accepted here. See additional comments under 3b. C. angustifolia var. dubia and 15. C. chromosa.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Variety angustifolia has pink to purple inflorescences over most of its range from southeastern Oregon and southern Idaho to southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming. At the eastern edge of its distribution, the colors vary more, possibly representing hybridization or contact with the more eastern var. dubia, which usually has yellow inflorescences. Plants of the western slope of the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming, are morphologically intermediate between these two varieties. In the same area, var. angustifolia occasionally hybridizes with Castilleja flava var. flava.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Bracts distally usually pink to pink-purple; s Idaho, sw Montana, se Oregon, nw Wyoming.
var. angustifolia
1. Bracts distally yellow, yellow-orange, pale orange, white, pink, reddish pink, or magenta; se Idaho, e Nevada, sw South Dakota, w Utah, ec Wyoming.
→ 2
2. Bracts distally usually yellow to pale orange or white; ec Wyoming, adjacent sw South Dakota.
var. dubia
2. Bracts distally usually yellow, yellow-orange, white, pink, or reddish pink; se Idaho, e Nevada, w Utah.
var. flavescens
Source FNA vol. 17, p. 586. FNA vol. 17, p. 587.
Parent taxa Orobanchaceae > Castilleja Orobanchaceae > Castilleja > Castilleja angustifolia
Sibling taxa
C. affinis, C. ambigua, C. applegatei, C. aquariensis, C. arachnoidea, C. attenuata, C. brevilobata, C. brevistyla, C. campestris, C. cervina, C. chambersii, C. chlorotica, C. christii, C. chromosa, C. chrymactis, C. chrysantha, C. cinerea, C. citrina, C. coccinea, C. collegiorum, C. covilleana, C. crista-galli, C. cryptantha, C. cusickii, C. densiflora, C. dissitiflora, C. disticha, C. elata, C. elegans, C. elmeri, C. exserta, C. flava, C. foliolosa, C. fraterna, C. genevieveana, C. glandulifera, C. gleasoni, C. gracillima, C. grisea, C. haydenii, C. hispida, C. hololeuca, C. hyperborea, C. indivisa, C. integra, C. kaibabensis, C. kerryana, C. kraliana, C. lacera, C. lanata, C. lasiorhyncha, C. lassenensis, C. latifolia, C. lemmonii, C. leschkeana, C. levisecta, C. linariifolia, C. lindheimeri, C. lineariloba, C. lineata, C. litoralis, C. lutescens, C. martini, C. mendocinensis, C. mexicana, C. miniata, C. minor, C. mogollonica, C. mollis, C. montigena, C. nana, C. nelsonii, C. nervata, C. nivea, C. occidentalis, C. oresbia, C. organorum, C. ornata, C. pallescens, C. pallida, C. parviflora, C. parvula, C. patriotica, C. peckiana, C. peirsonii, C. pilosa, C. plagiotoma, C. praeterita, C. pruinosa, C. puberula, C. pulchella, C. purpurascens, C. purpurea, C. raupii, C. revealii, C. rhexiifolia, C. rigida, C. rubicundula, C. rubida, C. rupicola, C. salsuginosa, C. scabrida, C. schizotricha, C. septentrionalis, C. sessiliflora, C. subinclusa, C. suksdorfii, C. tenuiflora, C. tenuis, C. thompsonii, C. tomentosa, C. uliginosa, C. unalaschcensis, C. victoriae, C. viscidula, C. wightii, C. wootonii, C. xanthotricha
C. angustifolia var. dubia, C. angustifolia var. flavescens
Subordinate taxa
C. angustifolia var. angustifolia, C. angustifolia var. dubia, C. angustifolia var. flavescens
Synonyms Euchroma angustifolia
Name authority (Nuttall) G. Don: Gen. Hist. 4: 616. 1837/1838 unknown
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