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

Castilleja rhexiifolia Rydb.
alpine paintbrush (alpine paintbrush; rhexia-leaved paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21002)

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Distribution of Castilleja rhexiifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout, somewhat woody stem-base; stems several, clustered, ascending to erect, 10-40 cm tall, usually unbranched, nearly smooth to soft-hairy or sometimes sticky glandular-hairy, especially in the inflorescence.
Alternate, linear to lanceolate, 3-7 cm long, entire, or the upper sometimes with a few short lobes, nearly smooth to finely soft-hairy or glandular-hairy, the veins prominent.
Inflorescence a prominently bracted terminal spike, at first compact, later elongating in fruit, the bracts usually crimson to purplish, occasionally scarlet or yellowish, egg-shaped to oblong, with 1 to 2 pairs of short lobes near the top, or entire and rounded, soft-hairy and sometimes sticky-hairy; corollas greenish, 20-35 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip beak-like, short-hairy, 8-12 mm long, much shorter than the tube and 4-5 times the length of the thickened, 3-toothed lower lip; calyces hairy, 15-25 mm long, deeply 2-lobed, these primary lobes again divided into 2 lanceolate, usually blunt, 3- to 6-mm long segments; stamens 4.
Capsules, about 12 mm long; seeds many, the seed-coats loose, net-veined.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist meadows and rocky slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in S BC north to 53degreeN; E to SW AB and S to NM, UT, NV and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Castilleja rhexiifolia

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) 6 1926 2615
Slope Gradient (%) 0 30 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 171 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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(30), BAFA(3), BWBS(2), CMA(2), CWH(1), ESSF(124), ICH(2), IDF(2), IMA(5), MS(9)


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 alpine tundra & boreal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Castilleja lauta A. Nelson
Castilleja leonardii Rydb.
Castilleja oregonensis Gandog.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References