Castilleja densiflora var. gracilis
Phytologia 90: 68. 2008.
Herbs 1–3.2 dm. Stems: hairs spreading, short and medium length, soft. Leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 1.5–9 cm, (0–)3–5-lobed. Inflorescences 1–13 cm; bracts distally pink to pink-purple or reddish purple on apices, rarely white, if white, sometimes aging pink to deep red. Calyces 5–11 mm; abaxial and adaxial clefts 4.7–10 mm, 90% of calyx length, all 4 clefts subequal, lateral 3–6 mm, 50% of calyx length. Corollas 17–20 mm; beak adaxially pink or purple, sometimes white; abaxial lip base white or pink to deep purple, expanded lip white with purple spots or purple proximally, white distally, sometimes all white, sometimes with distal yellow band and/or deep purple spots, deeply 3-lobed, appearing moderately inflated, lobes ± abrupt, deeper than long, 4–5 mm.
Phenology: Flowering Mar–May(–Jun).
Habitat: Grasslands, chaparral, savannas, stream or pool margins.
Elevation: 0–1600 m.
Calif., Mexico (Baja California).
Variety gracilis usually has a pink to purple inflorescence, although rare individuals in a population may be white. It has a shorter calyx than var. densiflora and therefore a more exserted corolla, and also differs in the more divergent angle of the abaxial lip, so that the pouches of the abaxial lip are as deep as they are long. Although var. gracilis occurs sporadically within the range of var. densiflora, it is much more common in the southern portion of the range of the species.