Page author: David Giblin
Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua
salt-marsh paintbrush

Distribution: Coastal areas, Washington to California

Habitat: Salt marshes and borders of brackish ponds

Flowers: June-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, hummingbirds


Slender annual 1-3.5 dm. tall, the stem simple or branched, with short, spreading hairs.


Leaves alternate, all cauline, lanceolate to oblong or ovate, 1-5 cm. long, scabrous-puberulent, the lower leaves mostly entire, the upper with 1 or 2 pairs of short, slender segments.


Flowers in a dense spike, the bracts gradually differentiated from the leaves, becoming cleft into several short, round-tipped segments, these white, yellow or purple; calyx 4-parted and deeply 2-cleft, the bifid tips colored like the bract tips; corolla 14-25 mm. long, yellow with purple markings, two-lipped, narrow, the tube gradually expanded to the saccate lower lip, which has 3 purple teeth 1-3 mm. long; upper lip straight, undivided, 1-2 mm. longer than the teeth on the lower lip; stamens 4, attached near the top of the corolla tube; stigma entire; ovary superior.



Accepted Name:
Castilleja ambigua Hook. & Arn. var. ambigua

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Castilleja ambigua Hook. & Arn. ssp. ambigua [IFBC, JPM2]
Orthocarpus castillejoides Benth. [HC, VPPNW4]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua information.

E-Flora BC: Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua atlas page.

CalPhotos: Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua photos.

USDA Plants: Castilleja ambigua var. ambigua information.

21 photographs:
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