Castilleja exserta ssp. exserta
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.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
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