[The Genus Ipomopsis East of
the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]
Scarlet Gilia, Skyrocket
Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. formosissima
Synonyms: Cantua aggregata, Gilia aggregata, Gilia aggregata ssp. aggregata, Gilia aggregata ssp. euaggregata, Gilia aggregata ssp. formosissima, Gilia aggregata var. aggregata, Gilia aggregata var. maculata, Gilia texana
Scarlet gilia observed at left on balds on steep south-facing slopes along Forest Road #39 several miles south of the junction with Forest Road #3965, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.........June 11, 2018. The photo at right shows scarlet gilia in bloom on open slopes along the Fremont National Recreation Trail on the northwest side of Hager Mountain, Fremont-Winema National Forest.......June 18, 2020.
The photo at right shows the basal rosette of leaves of scarlet gilia as seen along Forest Road #82 on the south side of Mt. Adams........July 1, 2005. Typically a biennial, this is what the plant looks like for the first year, and early in the second year of bloom.
Scarlet gilia is a strikingly beautiful wildflower. It is a
favorite of hummingbirds, and makes a nice addition to the dry, eastside (east
of the Cascades) meadow or rock garden. It is a biennial, or a short-lived perennial.
From experience, it is difficult to get it to over-winter outdoors west of the
Cascades, as it is quite susceptible to the dampness and fungal attack.
Scarlet gilia has one erect, usually unbranched stem that may
reach a height of 100 cm. The leaves are basal and also found on the stem (See
photo at right.). The stem leaves become reduced in size upwards on the stem.
They are usually 2-5 cm long, occasionally to 10 cm long, and are pinnatifid
and very dissected. The herbage ranges from glabrous to tomentose.
The inflorescence is glandualr, open, and long and narrow. The
flowers are clustered near the ends of the branches. The calyx is 5-7 mm long.
The corolla is very showy, with a long, gradually flared tube from 15 to 35 mm
long, with the spreading lobes 6 to 13 mm long. The corolla is an intense scarlet
or occasionally whitish with scarlet spots.
Scarlet gilia is found from the lowlands to well up in altitude
in mountainous areas. It prefers dry meadows, open or lightly wooded, and often
in rocky or cliff areas.
Scarlet gilia is found from southern British Columbia, south
along the eastern side of the Cascades (occasionally west) to Mexico.
Scarlet gilia as seen along Road S1750 near 4000' on the southern slopes of King Mt., which is in turn on the southeastern flanks of Mt. Adams.........July 9, 2006.
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A variant of scarlet gilia with coral-colored flowers seen along Forest Service Road 16 about one mile east of Seneca, OR..........July 3, 2010.
Scarlet gilia blooming along Forest Service Road #16 in Logan Valley, Malheur National Forest.........July 18, 2010.
Scarlet gilia beginning to bloom atop Kamiak Butte, Kamiak Butte County Park, Whitman County, Washington.......June 10, 2013.
Scarlet gilia blooming on the south-facing slopes of Bickleton Ridge, Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area..........June 17, 2017.
The photo at left shows a close-up of the tubular flowers of scarlet gilia as seen atop Crofton Ridge on the southern slopes of Mt. Adams..........June 19, 2005. The photo at right shows scarlet gilia blooming on balds along the first mile or so of the Lick Creek Trail #1809, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area......July 17, 2019.
The photo above shows a close-up, side view of the corolla tube
of scarlet gilia, photographed in the Malheur N.F at the intersection of US
Highway 26 and Forest Road 2645..........June 27, 1999.
The photo above shows a closeup of a leaf from the lower stem
of scarlet gilia. Photographed at Buckhorn Overlook, Wallowa-Whitman National
Forest............May 30, 1999.
The photo above left shows scarlet gilia as seen along Forest Road #40 near Sunset Point in the Umatilla National Forest of southeastern Washington........June 25, 2007. The photo at right shows scarlet gilia as seen along FS Road #2230 between Mount Pisgah and East Point, Ochoco National Forest.........June 13, 2015.
The two photos above show close-ups of the inflorescence of scarlet gilia. Photographed along the trail between Buckhorn Lookout and Eureka Bar in the Wallowa-Whitman N.F........June 27, 2008.
Scarlet gilia fading out of bloom along Trail 808A near the junction with Trail #804 atop Lookout Mountain, Ochoco National Forest............August 10, 2014.