Castilleja pallescens

(A. Gray) Greenman

Bot. Gaz. 25: 266. 1898. (as Castilleia)

Common names: Pale paintbrush
Basionym: Orthocarpus pallescens A. Gray Amer. J. Sci. Arts, ser. 2, 34: 339. 1862
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 17. Treatment on page 637. Mentioned on page 574, 635, 644.

Herbs, perennial, (0.4–)1–3 dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot. Stems few to many, erect to ascending, decumbent at base, unbranched, sometimes branched, hairs moderately to very dense, retrorsely curved to appressed, short, ± stiff, eglandular. Leaves purple-tinged or deep purple, sometimes green, linear to narrowly lanceolate, 1–4(–5) cm, not fleshy, margins plane, sometimes ± wavy, ± involute, (0–)3–5(–7)-lobed, apex acute; lobes spreading or ascending-spreading, linear, apex acute. Inflorescences (1.5–)4–8(–12) × 1.5–5.5 cm; bracts pale green to yellow-green or reddish purple throughout, or proximally pale green to yellow-green, distally white to cream or pale yellowish, sometimes pink to reddish purple, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, elliptic, or ovate, 3–5(–9)-lobed; lobes spreading to ascending, linear, long, arising along distal 2/3, apex acute to obtuse. Calyces colored as bracts, sometimes distally purple with age, 11–25(–27) mm; abaxial and adaxial clefts 7–13.6 mm, 40–50% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 0.5–4.3(–6) mm, (0–)5–25% of calyx length; lobes lanceolate to triangular, apex usually triangular or acute, rarely ± obtuse. Corollas straight, 13–23(–27) mm; tube 10–20 mm; subequal to calyx or beak slightly exserted; beak adaxially whitish or buff, rarely pink to pink-purple, 3.5–8 mm; abaxial lip proximally green, white, purple, or purplish brown, distally white, yellow, green, pink, or reddish, prominent, pouched, pouches pleated, longer than deep, gradually expanded, 2.5–8 mm, 70–100% as long as beak, puberulent; teeth erect to spreading, pink, cream, or white, sometimes with a yellow spot proximally, 1.5–3.5 mm. 2n = 24, 48.


Idaho, Mont., Nev., Oreg., Wyo.


Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).

Castilleja pallescens occurs from valleys to alpine ridges and summits throughout its range, usually in sagebrush communities, but at higher elevations it is also found on dry sites associated with other plant species. The alpine plants are greatly reduced in stature.

Selected References



1 Bracts not rigid, veins inconspicuous, usually same color as surfaces; herbs (0.5–)1–3 dm; ne Idaho, sw Montana, nw Wyoming. Castilleja pallescens var. pallescens
1 Bracts rigid, veins prominent, pale and contrasting with color of surfaces; herbs 0.4–1.2(–1.7) dm; s, se Idaho, ne Nevada, Oregon. Castilleja pallescens var. inverta