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Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted

Annual, perennial herb, shrub; often glandular; root-parasites, roots modified into absorptive structures. Stem: generally round in ×-section. Leaf: generally simple, generally alternate, reduced to ± fleshy scales in non-green plants lacking chlorophyll; stipules generally 0. Inflorescence: spike to panicle, generally bracted, or flowers 1–2 in axils. Flower: bisexual; calyx lobes 0–5; corolla generally strongly bilateral, generally 2-lipped (upper lip generally 2-lobed, lower lip generally 3-lobed), abaxial lobes outside other lobes in bud; stamens epipetalous, 4 in 2 pairs (sometimes 1 pair sterile), additional staminode 0(1), anther sacs unequal; ovary superior, chambers 1–2, placentas 2–4, parietal, style 1, stigma lobes 0 or 2. Fruit: capsule, generally ± ovoid, loculicidal, valves 2–4. Seed: many, small, angled; surface smooth or netted.
99 genera, 2060 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate and Africa. [Bennett & Matthews 2006 Amer J Bot 93:1039–1051] High yield losses in many crops caused by Orobanche species in Africa, Mediterranean, Middle East, and eastern Europe. —Scientific Editors: Robert Patterson, Bruce G. Baldwin.

Key to Orobanchaceae


Margriet Wetherwax, T.I. Chuang & Lawrence R. Heckard

Annual to subshrub, green. Leaf: sessile, entire to dissected. Inflorescence: spike-like; bracts becoming shorter, wider, more lobed than leaves, mature tips generally cream to red or green. Flower: calyx unequally 4-lobed, colored like bract tips; corolla upper 2 lip lobes fused, beak-like, tip open, lower lip reduced, 3-toothed to -pouched; stamens 4, anther sacs 2, unequal; stigma entire to 2-lobed, generally exserted. Fruit: ± asymmetric. Seed: generally ± brown, attached at base; coat netted, net-like walls ladder-like or not.
± 200 species: especially western North America. (Domingo Castillejo, Spanish botanist, 1744–1793) [Tank & Olmstead 2008 Amer J Bot 95:608–625] Hybridization and polyploidy common. Biologically consistent taxa difficult to define. Castilleja chrymactis Pennell not in California, sole (1947) record a misidentified, incomplete specimen.
Unabridged references: [Chuang & Heckard 1991 Syst Bot 16:644–666]

Key to Castilleja

C. densiflora (Benth.) T.I. Chuang & Heckard
Annual 10–40 cm, branches 0 or few from mid-stem, ± glabrous. Leaf: 20–80 mm, < 3 mm wide, lance-linear, lobes 0–3. Inflorescence: 3–25 cm, 2.5–4 cm wide; bracts 10–25 mm, tipped white or ± purple, lobes 3–5, linear. Flower: calyx divided 1/2 abaxially and on sides, 2/3 adaxially, lobes ± linear, tip wider; corolla 10–25 mm, yellow (cream), pink, or rose-purple, beak 5–6 mm, straight, puberulent, lower lip 4–5 mm, pouches 4–6 mm wide, 2–3 mm deep; filaments glabrous; stigma ± exserted, ± 2-lobed. Fruit: 7–10 mm. Seed: ± 0.5 mm; coat shallowly netted, loose-fitting.
2n=24. Highly variable; many local forms; more study needed. [Online Interchange]
Unabridged synonyms: [Orthocarpus densiflorus Benth.]

C. densiflora subsp. obispoensis (D.D. Keck) T.I. Chuang & Heckard SAN LUIS OBISPO OWL'S-CLOVER
Inflorescence: cream to pale yellow; bracts = flowers. Flower: calyx 8–20; corolla ± included, lower lip widened gradually, pouches longer than deep, teeth ± 2 mm.
Coastal grassland; < 400 m. s Central Coast (San Luis Obispo Co.). Mar–Jun [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}
Unabridged synonyms: [Orthocarpus densiflorus var. obispoensis D.D. Keck]

Previous taxon: Castilleja densiflora subsp. gracilis
Next taxon: Castilleja exserta


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 26 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Castilleja, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 26 2015

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click for enlargement Castilleja densiflora subsp. obispoensis
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2003 Yulan Tong

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Castilleja densiflora subsp. obispoensis Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.