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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

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 fairly dense, spreading, short and long, soft to stiff, eglandular.


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 yellow to pale orange or white, sometimes red, 3–9-lobed, sometimes with secondary lobes.


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.

18–27 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.

18–22 mm;

abaxial clefts 5–7 mm, adaxial 7–8 mm.

Castilleja angustifolia

Castilleja angustifolia var. dubia

Phenology Flowering Jun.
Habitat Dry sagebrush slopes and flats in mountains, high plains.
Elevation 1500–2400 m. (4900–7900 ft.)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA

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 dubia is often confused with Castilleja chromosa in herbaria, floras, and databases, but they are not synonymous. Where C. angustifolia and C. chromosa are sympatric in Wyoming, the specimens show little evidence of hybridization. Variety dubia, found primarily in southwestern South Dakota and east-central Wyoming, can be recognized by its usually narrower, yellow to pale orange inflorescences, as well as by its shorter corollas, while C. chromosa has wider, red inflorescences and longer corollas. Occasional hybrids between var. dubia and C. sessiliflora are known from northeastern Wyoming.

(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. angustifolia, C. angustifolia var. flavescens
Subordinate taxa
C. angustifolia var. angustifolia, C. angustifolia var. dubia, C. angustifolia var. flavescens
Synonyms Euchroma angustifolia C. dubia
Name authority (Nuttall) G. Don: Gen. Hist. 4: 616. 1837/1838 A. Nelson: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 29: 404. (1902)
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