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

Castilleja hispida Benth.
harsh paintbrush (harsh paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1648)

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Distribution of Castilleja hispida
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Castilleja hispida var. hispida

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout, somewhat woody stem-base; stems several, clustered, ascending to erect, 20-60 cm tall, usually unbranched, finely long-soft-hairy to sometimes bristly-hairy, especially above.
Alternate, lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, finely soft-hairy to sometimes sticky-long-hairy, the lower leaves entire and reduced, the upper ones usually with 1 to 2 pairs of narrow lobes above the middle.
Inflorescence a prominently bracted terminal spike, at first compact, later elongating in fruit, the bracts bright red to scarlet, occasionally yellowish, oblong-egg-shaped, deeply 3- to 5-lobed above the middle, minutely hairy and also long-soft-hairy; corollas greenish, 20-40 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip beak-like, short-hairy, about as long as the tube and 5 or more times the length of the thickened, 3-toothed lower lip; calyces hairy, 15-30 mm long, deeply 2-lobed, these primary lobes again divided into 2 rounded, 1- to 7-mm long segments; stamens 4.
Capsules; seeds many, the seed-coats loose, net-veined.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic meadows and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC; E to SW AB and S to NW MT, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Castilleja hispida

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) 137 1261 2320
Slope Gradient (%) 0 38 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 190 303
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 5
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(4), CDF(2), CWH(1), ESSF(8), ICH(18), IDF(14), MH(2), MS(12), PP(2)


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