Downy Yellow Painted CupDOWNY YELLOW PAINTED CUP

Castilleja sessiliflora

Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)

Description:  Partially parasitic, yellowish to gray-green plants less than 15" tall, with several hairy stems from a single base.  The leaves are alternate, up to 2" long, and mostly divided near the middle of the leaf into 3 narrow segments, thus resembling bird's feet.  The middle lobe may be divided again into smaller lobes.  The leaves near the base of the plant are often long, narrow, and undivided.  Flowers are long, tubular, and very thin, in a dense, leafy cluster at the top of the stems.  Each flower has a slender tubular calyx about 1 1/2" long and a curved, pale yellowish, 2-lipped corolla 1 1/2" - 2 1/4" long, with the shorter lower lip divided at the tip into 3 segments.

Midspring -- early summer; also rarely in early fall.

Habitat/Range:  Occasional in dry prairies, often on exposed hillsides and slopes; found in the northern tallgrass region from northern Illinois to eastern Kansas and northward.