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Perennial herb from a stout, scaly, somewhat woody stem-base; stems several and clustered or solitary on rhizomes, ascending to erect, 20-80 cm tall, simple or sometimes branched above, more or less smooth below, hairy above especially in the inflorescence.
Alternate, lance-linear to lanceolate, 3-10 cm long, entire, long-tapering to sharp-pointed tip, appressed-rough-hairy to nearly smooth.
Inflorescence a prominently bracted terminal spike, the bracts bright red or scarlet to orange, occasionally crimson or rarely yellow, lanceolate to oblong-egg-shaped, with 1 to 2 pairs of sharp lobes or teeth near the top or rarely entire, hairy and often sticky; corollas greenish, 20-40 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip beak-like, short-hairy, 9-20 mm long, 3/4 to about as long as the tube and 5 or more times the length of the thickened, 3-toothed lower lip; calyces red to scarlet, hairy, 15-30 mm long, deeply 2-lobed, these primary lobes again divided into 2 linear to lanceolate, sharp-pointed, 3- to 9-mm long segments; stamens 4.
Capsules, 9-12 mm long; seeds many, the seed-coats loose, net-veined.
Appears to hybridize frequently with Castilleja unalaschcensis, and perhaps also C. hispida and C. rhexifolia.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia