The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links
Castilleja parviflora var. olympica

Olympic Indian paintbrush, Olympic Mountains paintbrush, Olympic paintbrush

magenta paintbrush, mountain Indian paintbrush, mountain or rosy or small-flower paintbrush, small-flower paintbrush

Habit Herbs 1.2–3.2 dm. Herbs, perennial, (0.6–)1–4(–5) dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot or stout, branched roots.

several or many, erect or ascending, unbranched except for short, leafy axillary shoots, glabrate proximally, hairy distally, hairs sparse, spreading, ± matted, long, soft, minute-glandular.


broadly lanceolate, rarely linear, margins plane, (0–)3(–5)-lobed, apex narrowly acute to acuminate;

lobes spreading, linear to lanceolate, lateral lobes nearly as long as terminal.

green or gray-green to purple-tinged or deep purple, often blackening on drying, narrowly to broadly lanceolate or elliptic, rarely linear, 1.5–5 cm, not fleshy, margins plane, sometimes ± wavy, flat, (0–)3–9-lobed, apex acute to acuminate or obtuse;

lobes spreading or ascending, linear, sometimes lanceolate, much narrower than terminal lobe, evenly spaced, short, apex acute.


distally pink-purple, magenta, deep rose, or crimson, rarely white, 3–7-lobed;

lobes lanceolate, arising near to above mid length.


2–16 × 1–3.5 cm;

bracts proximally greenish, dull, deep purple, or reddish purple, distally pink, pink-purple, magenta, deep rose, crimson, cream, or white, sometimes red, pale orange, or red-orange, lanceolate to broadly elliptic or ovate, 3–7-lobed;

lobes spreading to ascending, linear, lanceolate, or lanceolate-acuminate, short to medium length, arising at or near mid length, apex obtuse to acute, central lobes sometimes rounded.


12–20(–25) mm;

tube 8.5–19 mm;

beak exserted, (5.5–)7–9(–11) mm;

abaxial lip green;

teeth green.

straight or slightly curved, 12–30 mm;

tube 8–19 mm;

beak exserted or subequal to calyx, adaxially green-yellowish or red, 5.5–11 mm;

abaxial lip green, brown, or yellow, sometimes purple, reduced, slightly or not inflated and pouched, 1–3 mm, 20–45% as long as beak;

teeth erect, green, white, yellow, pink, or red, 0.5–2 mm.


deep purple with magenta or light pink lobes, 13–20(–28) mm;

abaxial clefts 6.5–12 mm, adaxial 7–15 mm, lateral 2–8 mm, 10–35% of calyx length;

lobes narrowly triangular, apex acute to obtuse.

colored as bracts, 12–28 mm;

abaxial and adaxial clefts 6–15 mm, 40–70% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 1–8 mm, 10–35% of calyx length;

lobes narrowly to broadly triangular, sometimes distally expanded and flaring, petaloid, apex obtuse or acute, sometimes rounded.


= 24, 48.

Castilleja parviflora var. olympica

Castilleja parviflora

Phenology Flowering Jul–Sep.
Habitat Dry to moist meadows, forest openings, ridges, subalpine to lower alpine.
Elevation 1000–1600 m. (3300–5200 ft.)
from FNA
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Variety olympica is essentially endemic to the upper elevations of the Olympic Mountains, in northwestern Washington, though a handful of collections from high elevations on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, are also referable to this form.

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

Varieties 4 (4 in the flora).

Castilleja parviflora is a complex, geographically widespread, and often misunderstood species ranging from southeastern Alaska through much of British Columbia, southwestern Yukon, and the Rocky Mountains of extreme western Alberta and southward in the Cascade Range to central Oregon.

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

1. Corollas (18–)20–30 mm; calyces 20–28 mm; leaves (0–)3(–5)-lobed; Oregon, Washington.
var. oreopola
1. Corollas 12–20(–25) mm; calyces 12–20(–28) mm; leaves (0–)3–9-lobed; Washington to Alaska, Alberta, and Yukon.
→ 2
2. Bracts distally white to cream, sometimes suffused with pink to purple; herbs 0.6–2.7 dm; n Cascade Range, Washington and s British Columbia.
var. albida
2. Bracts distally pink-purple, magenta, deep rose, or crimson, rarely white; herbs 1.2–5 dm; Olympic Mountains, Washington, w Canada, se Alaska.
→ 3
3. Leaves (3–)5–9-lobed; corolla beaks 5.5–7 mm; Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska.
var. parviflora
3. Leaves (0–)3(–5)-lobed; corolla beaks (5.5–)7–9(–11) mm; s Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Olympic Mountains, Washington.
var. olympica
Source FNA vol. 17, p. 641. FNA vol. 17, p. 640.
Parent taxa Orobanchaceae > Castilleja > Castilleja parviflora Orobanchaceae > Castilleja
Sibling taxa
C. parviflora var. albida, C. parviflora var. oreopola, C. parviflora var. parviflora
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. 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. 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
Subordinate taxa
C. parviflora var. albida, C. parviflora var. olympica, C. parviflora var. oreopola, C. parviflora var. parviflora
Synonyms C. olympica, C. oreopola subsp. olympica
Name authority (G. N. Jones) Ownbey: in C. L. Hitchcock et al., Vasc. Pl. Pacif. N.W. 4: 317. (1959) Bongard: Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg, sér. 6, Sci. Math. 2(2): 158. (1832)
Web links