Owl's Clover

Castilleja exserta ssp. exserta

Purple Owl's Clover

Color: Magenta, pale purple

Common name: Owl's clover, Pale purple owl's clover, exserted Indian paintbrush (Note sometimes confused with purple owl's clover, note the differences between ssp. exserta and ssp. venusta)

Latin name: Castilleja exserta ssp. exserta


Height: 4-18 inches tall.

Description: Inflorescence: upper bracts generally < 5 mm wide, coloured like the bracts, tipped white, pale yellow, or purplish red which distinguishes it from the more uncommon ssp. venustus. Like others in the genus, this is a hemi-parasitic plant. The flower is tube-shaped and somewhat hidden in the colorful bracts which give the appearance of being a flower.

Leaf: 10–50 mm; lobes 5–9, ± thread-like.

Range: Northwestern California, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, Southwestern California, w Mojave Desert.

Habitat: Open fields, grassland.

Elevation: < 1600 m.

Flowering time: Mar–May

Notes: A dicot, is an annual herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Like others in the Castilleja species, it is hemiparasitic — partially parasitic — but makes some of its own food.

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