Castilleja exserta var. exserta
Herbs 0.1–4.5 dm. Inflorescences 1.5–20 cm; bracts: distal apices lavender, magenta, pink, or white, usually less than 5 mm wide, (3–) 5 (–9) -lobed; lobes filiform to linear, 2 × to 1 mm. Calyces 10–26 mm; abaxial clefts 6.5–12 mm, adaxial 12–18 mm, abaxial ca. 50% as long as calyx, adaxial ca. 67% of calyx length, lateral 5.5–9 mm, 33% of calyx length. Corollas 12–33 mm; tube 22–25 mm; beak 8–13 mm; abaxial lip variably colored, proximally pink to deep red-purple or white, distal 1/4 white, yellow, or yellow-orange, 4.5–9 mm.
Phenology: Flowering Jan–Jun(–Aug).
Habitat: Grasslands, chaparral, dunes, sandy flats, headlands, open oak forests, coastal scrub, rocky slopes, dry sand, desert washes.
Elevation: 0–1600 m.
Ariz., Calif., N.Mex., Mexico (Baja California)
Variety exserta is the most common and widespread Castilleja in California. In large masses, it is a showy spectacle in springtime. Pink to purple forms are most common, but color morphs with white bracts are often found intermingled in small numbers. In addition, there are often small differences among populations, especially in corolla color and markings. Early records from Oregon and Washington are either garden plants or waifs, not native populations, and none has persisted.
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