[The Paintbrushes of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja hispida var. hispida

Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida

Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

Harsh paintbrush as seen along the Hardy Ridge Trail, Beacon Rock State Park.........April 20, 2015. The tips of the calyx lobes are rounded.

Characteristics:

Harsh paintbrush is a colorful perennial wildflower found across much of the west. It consists of a cluster of hairy (hispid) stems arising 20 to 60 cm tall from a woody base. The stems are primarily unbranched and most often fairly villous or hairy. The leaves are narrowly to broadly lanceolate with the lower leaves entire and reduced in size while the upper ones larger, narrower and often with one or two pairs of lateral lobes. Occasionally the leaves are all entire margined. The inflorescence is typically striking in coloration. It is often bright red, scarlet, or even yellow in color. The bracts are wide and deeply 3-5 lobed and more or less hairy. The calyx is 15-30 mm in length and deeply and subequally cleft above and below. The lobes are again divided 1-7 mm into two rounded to acute segments. The corolla ranges from 20-40 mm long, puberulent to pubescent, and equaling the tube in length and five or more times the length of the dark green, thickened, lower lip.

In Oregon and Washington, hairy paintbrush may be easily confused with common paintbrush. The latter may be identified by the entire leaf margins, less hairy foliage, and acutely tipped calyx lobes.


Habitat:

Harsh paintbrush may be found in grasslands and in forest meadows.


Range:

Harsh paintbrush may be found across southwestern Canada from Vancouver Island to southwestern Alberta. It is found southward through northwestern Montana and northern Idaho to northeastern Oregon and west across Oregon and Washington to the Pacific coast (as far south as Benton County, OR.).

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found throughout the length of the gorge between the elevations of 100' and 4800'.


Stem leaf of Harsh Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida

Photo at left: Stem leaf of harsh paintbrush as seen in the webmaster's garden in Gresham, OR (from seeds of plants from the central Columbia River Gorge)...............May 11, 2009. Photo at right: Stem leaf of harsh paintbrush as seen along the Memaloose Loop Trail in the central Columbia River Gorge.........April 12, 2010.

Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida) - Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

Harsh paintbrush blooming along the Starvation Creek Ridge Trail #414, Columbia River Gorge.......April 26, 2016.

Harsh Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida

Note the moderately long galea above. The corolla of harsh paintbrush is rougly 24-32 mm long, with the galea ranging from 10-14 mm long.

Rounded calyx lobes of Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

Note the rounded calyx lobes in the photo above. Note also that the lobes are split more deeply dorsally and ventrally than laterally. The calyx ranges from 19-27 mm long.

Floral parts of Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

Leaves, bracts and flowers of harsh paintbrush from Castilleja Hill, in the Memaloose Hills of the central Columbia River Gorge............April 15, 2001.

Floral parts of Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

From left to right are one side of the calyx tube with its 2 rounded lobes, the corolla, the calyx and corolla together, and a stem leaf with 2 pairs of lateral lobes. Note the additional close-ups below.

Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

Harsh paintbrush beginning to bloom near the Memaloose Overlook of Highway 30, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area...........March 24, 2013.

Harsh Paintbrush, Harsh Indian Paintbrush: Castilleja hispida var. hispida (Synonyms: Castilleja angustifolia var. abbreviata, Castilleja angustifolia var. hispida, Castilleja hispida ssp. abbreviata, Castilleja hispida ssp. hispida)

The first leaves of harsh paintbrush arising out of the ground along the Memaloose Trail about 200 meters south of Memaloose Overlook, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area...........March 3, 2015. Note the young leaves of Carey's balsamroot also coming out of the ground to its immediate right.

Paul Slichter