Herbs, perennial, 0.7–1.5(–2.2) dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot or stout, branched roots. Stems several, decumbent, often sprawling, distally ascending, unbranched unless injured, rarely with small, leafy axillary shoots, hairs spreading, whitish, short, ± stiff, eglandular. Leaves gray-green, sometimes green or reddish purple, reduced and scalelike on proximal 10–25% of stem, linear, lanceolate, or narrowly elliptic, 1.5–4(–5) cm, not fleshy, margins plane, flat or involute, 0–3(–5)-lobed, apex acute; lobes spreading or spreading-ascending, linear or lanceolate, apex acute. Inflorescences 2.5–10 × 2.5–5 cm; bracts proximally green to deep greenish purple, distally bright red, sometimes brick red or orange-red, linear to lanceolate, 3–5(–7)-lobed; lobes spreading, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, sometimes expanded near tip, long, arising near base and more distally, apex acute to obtuse. Calyces colored as bracts, 18–33 mm; abaxial clefts 6–12 mm, adaxial 8–15 mm, clefts 40–60% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 2–6 mm, 15–25% of calyx length; lobes lanceolate or narrowly triangular, apex acute to acuminate. Corollas straight or slightly curved, 25–40(–45) mm; tube 11–24 mm; beak exserted, adaxially green to yellow, 10–17(–20) mm; abaxial lip green, reduced, visible through front cleft, 1.5–2.5 mm, 10–15% as long as beak; teeth incurved, green, 0.5–1 mm. 2n = 24.
Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., Nev., Utah
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).
Castilleja scabrida consists of two varieties distinguished by range and habitat differences, as well as by the morphological characters of the key. Both varieties are often confused with the similar and broadly sympatric C. chromosa but can be differentiated from the latter most easily by the presence of scalelike vestigial leaves on the proximal stems of C. scabrida.
|1||Leaf lobes lanceolate, sometimes linear-lanceolate; stems and leaves appearing grayish; substrates sandstone or clay.||Castilleja scabrida var. scabrida|
|1||Leaf lobes linear; stems and leaves greenish, rarely reddish purple to grayish green; substrates calcareous.||Castilleja scabrida var. barnebyana|