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Castilleja cryptantha

Mt. Rainier or obscure paintbrush, obscure Indian paintbrush, obscure paintbrush

Habit Herbs, perennial, (0.8–)1–1.9 dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot.

few to several, erect or ascending, unbranched, hairs spreading, long, soft, eglandular, mixed with short stipitate-glandular ones.


green, often with brown or purple veins, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, 1.5–4 cm, not fleshy, margins plane, ± involute, 0–3-lobed, apex acute to acuminate;

lobes spreading-ascending, narrowly lanceolate, apex acute to ± obtuse.


(2.5–)3–6 × 1–2 cm; green to dull brown or dull reddish purple throughout, or proximally green to dull brown or dull reddish purple, distally yellow on apices, broadly lanceolate to ovate, (0–)3-lobed;

lobes ascending, narrowly lanceolate, long or short, arising near mid length, apex acute or acuminate.


straight, 14–16 mm;

tube 11–14 mm;

whole corolla included within calyx;

beak adaxially pale yellow, 1–2 mm;

abaxial lip deep green, slightly inflated, 4–5 mm, 67% as long as beak;

teeth ascending, pale, 1.5–2 mm.


proximally green or pale with green veins, lobes yellow, sometimes becoming deep red with age, 12–15 mm;

abaxial and adaxial clefts 3–7 mm, 25–50% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 1–3(–4) mm, 8–20% of calyx length;

lobes triangular, adaxial segments longer than abaxials, apex acute or obtuse.


= 24.

Castilleja cryptantha

Phenology Flowering Jul–Aug.
Habitat Mesic to moist flat subalpine meadows and turf, to tree line.
Elevation 1500–2000 m. (4900–6600 ft.)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Castilleja cryptantha is endemic to the vicinity of Mt. Rainier in the Cascade Range, with most populations found within Mt. Rainier National Park. Unlike most species of Castilleja, it is apparently self-pollinating (W. J. Duffield 1972); the small flowers are entirely enclosed within the yellowish calyces, which tend to grow deep reddish as they age. The purplish brown bracts are also unusual in the genus.

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

Source FNA vol. 17, p. 600.
Parent taxa Orobanchaceae > Castilleja
Sibling taxa
C. affinis, C. ambigua, C. angustifolia, 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. 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
Name authority Pennell & G. N. Jones: Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 50: 208. (1937)
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