Perennial. Stems erect, simple, 20–50 cm. Herbage puberulent. Leaves 2–7 cm long, linear to linear-lanceolate, the upper with 1 pair of linear lobes. Inflorescence glandular-puberulent, villous; bracts bright red, lanceolate with 1 or 2 pairs of lateral lobes. Flowers: calyx 20–28 mm long, primary clefts deeper in front than in back, lobes acute to acuminate, 3–8 mm long; corolla 26–36 mm long, galea 10–13 mm long, lower lip green, minute (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
is a difficult genus because hybridization and allopolyploid speciation (containment of multiple sets of chromosomes that are derived from different species) fuzz a species’ characteristics (Giblin et al. [eds.] 2018).
To identify Castilleja
species, it is important to (Giblin et al. [eds.] 2018):
* note colors of the bract, calyx, and corolla while in the field, and
* press many bracts, calyces, and corollas separately to show their shapes.Castilleja linariifolia
and Castilleja crista-galli
can be mistaken for one another. It is speculated that Castilleja crista-galli
is a hybrid product of Castilleja linariifolia
x Castilleja miniata
, because it can exhibit intermediate morphology. Studies are needed.Greater Red Indian Paintbrush
– Castilleja crista-galli
* Inflorescence bracts are bright red.
* Primary calyx lobes are cleft deeper in front than in the back.
* Calyx lobes are acute to acuminate.Wyoming Indian Paintbrush
– Castilleja linariifolia
* Inflorescence bracts yellow to orange.
* Flowers become more widely separated at maturity (than does C. crista-galli
* Calyx is conspicuously more deeply cleft on the side adjacent to the corolla lip than on the back. Calyx is curved back.
* Calyx lobes are acute.
Meadows and grasslands in the montane to alpine zones (Lesica et al. 2012).