Multi-hue Castilleja Site

Submitted by cohan on Sun, 02/27/2011 - 22:04

These plants are from a spot just a few miles up the road from me (mentioned in my Alberta Wanderings post today)--on the edge of a semi open poplar woodland, amongst fairly heavy growth of saplings, grasses and forbs, and out into the more open roadside, this wonderful colony of mixed colour Castillejas is found.
I've assumed them to be miniata, since that's the only species supposedly in my area, and it does have some variation in colour, but I really wonder if there could be something else in the mix here?
In any case, they are quite remarkable, to me much more exciting than the usual coral/scarlet range..(which occur here in plenty, I just take fewer photos of them!)

a few shots here, whole album, from a couple visits in 09 (I have lots of shots in 2010 as well, but these are as good as any) is at:
well worth seeing for the range of variations subtle and not, and the innumerable forms of these flowers...
I've sent seed from this colony to Gardens North the last 2 years....


Submitted by cohan on Sun, 02/27/2011 - 22:31

Hmm, is it something I've done to make that one photo enlarge automatically in the first post? (#5)....

MMcD:  Cohan, there was a spelling error (attachtumb instead of attachthumb), so the in-line photo feature defaults to its basic functionaility of attaching the image at full size, rather than the thumbnail version.  I fixed it for you :))
By the way, nice Castilleja color variations! I really like the soft orange ones.

Submitted by Booker on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 00:29

These are sensational Cohan ... I grow one or two species that I presumed to be border line hardy, but these must be BONE hardy and incredibly beautiful.  Heights please?

Submitted by Lori S. on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 06:23

Cliff, you certainly don't need to worry about cold-hardiness to grow any Castilleja in your area!  (Drainage/humidity, yes... )

Submitted by Hoy on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 11:05

Very interesting, Cohan! maybe a speciation is taking place! Have you observed what kind of insect visiting those flowers? I once read about a plant experiencing rapid splitting in two subspecies due to a color mutation: Different pollinators visited the two and the flower shape diversified quickly :o

Submitted by cohan on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 11:35

Thanks for the fix, Mark-- I knew there had to be something! The corals through orange into scarlet are the most common forms

Cliff-- I'd estimate average heights on these between 40 and 60cm, in this semi shady spot; probably in full sun, tougher soils, they could be a touch smaller, but not a real 'rock garden' species; Last year I found another location close by, with a more usual range of colours (as far as I know--I only saw a few plants in flower, but found a much larger number in seed later, so I will need to check colours this summer) but there were some very tall plants to around a metre--growing amongst other vegetation...
I don't know how these would behave in your climate, but at least they are not from xeric environments as some of the American  species seem to be ...

Trond-- I have not seen what sort of insects pollinate them, but will comment that there are bazillions of insects of all sorts around here!! And harvesting seed of this is always interesting, since seed pods are often full of bugs!

Submitted by cohan on Thu, 08/30/2012 - 00:40

Talking about Castillejas just now in the image of the day thread, I remembered I had not come back here to post the comments given me by a U.S. Castilleja guy on flickr- he thinks these (my mixed looking plants, and similar plants found further south by someone else and posted on flickr) could indeed by hybrid- if so, I think they must be a self-perpetuatingy hybrid population, since other than these mixed plants, there are only miniata in my area. A couple other species are reported in neighbouring regions (and of course, sometimes maps are wrong) and could have contribued genes, but no other clear species are around here, that I've seen so if there is a hybrid, my feeling (not scientific fact!) is that the cross would have occurred at some point in the past in the foothills, and those mixed progeny have spread from there...
A few more images... roadwork has kept me away from the site this year, but I think they may be almost done, maybe I'll get there to collect seed yet...
That whole album, with companion plants, is at: