E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Castilleja occidentalis Torr.
western paintbrush (western Indian paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23143)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Castilleja occidentalis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a somewhat woody stem-base; stems several, clustered, decumbent to erect, 5-20 cm tall, unbranched, more or less sticky-long-hairy, usually purplish.
Alternate, linear to lanceolate, 2-5 cm long, entire or sometimes the uppermost with a pair of small lateral lobes, sticky-hairy.
Inflorescence a prominently bracted terminal spike, short and compact, the bracts pale yellow, often with a brownish, purplish or reddish cast, broadly lanceolate to egg-shaped, entire and rounded or with 1 to 2 pairs of small lobes near the top, strongly sticky-hairy; corollas 17-25 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip beak-like, minutely hairy, 5-9 mm long, much shorter than the tube and 3-4 times the length of the 3-toothed lower lip; calyces 15-20 mm long, 2-lobed, these primary lobes again divided into 2 blunt segments 1-4 mm long; stamens 4.
Capsules, 8-10 mm long; seeds many, the seed-coats loose, net-veined.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows and rocky slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in SE BC; E to SW AB and S to CO and UT.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Castilleja occidentalis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 790 2103 2610
Slope Gradient (%) 0 39 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 167 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(21), BWBS(1), ESSF(42), IDF(1), IMA(8)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References