Perennial herb from a somewhat woody stem-base; stems several, clustered, ascending to erect, 10-20 cm tall, unbranched, thinly long-soft-hairy with crinkly hairs.
Alternate, all divided into 3 to 5 (7) linear, spreading lobes, or rarely the lowermost entire, the lateral lobes not much narrower than the mid-blade, finely long-soft-hairy.
Inflorescence a prominently bracted terminal spike, compact and relatively few-flowered, the bracts bright scarlet or crimson, mostly deeply 5-lobed, much shorter than the flowers, minutely hairy and also long-soft-hairy; corollas greenish, 25-35 (45) mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip beak-like, short-hairy, about equalling or slightly longer than the tube and much longer than the thickened, 3-toothed lower lip; calyces long-hairy, 15-25 mm long, deeply 2-lobed, these primary lobes again divided into 2 blunt or sharp, 1- to 5-mm long segments; stamens 4.
Capsules; seeds many, the seed-coats loose, net-veined.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Castilleja parviflora has purple to pinkish or white bracts that are 3-lobed well above the middle. Castilleja rhexifolia may also have crimson bracts but these are unlobed (COSEWIC 2005d; Cliff Paintbrush Recovery Team 2009).
Source: British Columbia Conservation Data Centre