Castilleja sessiliflora is found at middle elevation on the roadside in disturbed areas. Like some of the other Orobanchaceae, it is probably parasitic on Artemisia carruthii. The flower of Castilleja sessiliflora is a very pale yellow
Soft-hairy perennial; stems usually clustered, simple, 1-4 dm, very leafy; principal cauline lvs 3-5 cm, cleft to below the middle into 3 lance-linear divergent lobes, the middle lobe sometimes again cleft; spikes dense, 3-5 cm; bracts like the lvs but somewhat smaller, green or sometimes pink-tipped; cal 25-40 mm, cleft to about the middle, each half also cleft into 2 linear-attenuate segments 8-14 mm; cor curved, exserted from the bracts, purplish to yellow or white, 35-55 mm, the galea 9-12 mm, the lobes of the lower lip 5-6 mm; 2n=24. Dry prairies and plains; Wis. and n. Ill. to Sask., s. to Mo., Tex., and Ariz. May-July.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Perennial with many densely villous or tomentose stems, branched, to about 40 cm tall. Leaves: Linear to linear-lanceolate, villous to hirsute, 2-5 cm long, entire except upper ones usually with a pair of linear lobes. Flowers: Densely villous spike, floral bracts shorter than flowers, glandular-pubescent, mostly green with purplish veins, dingy yellow at apex, 3-5 lobed; calyx more deeply cleft on lower side than on upper side, yellowish or tinged with pink, glandular-pubescent toward apex, otherwise villous; corolla 40-50 mm long, strongly exserted, the upper hood less than half as long as corolla tube, yellowish or tinged rose-pink at margins, glabrous or glandular, lower lip sac-shaped, red at apex, lobes linear 5-8 mm long). Fruits: Loculicidal capsule with numerous seeds. Ecology: Found on sandy slopes, often among pi-on-juniper woodlands; 4,500-7,000 ft (1372-2134 m); flowers April-June. Distribution: From n MEX north to AZ, east TX and north to MTthrough MN to CAN. Notes: This is a plains species that ranges up into Canada. It is distinctive in that its color ranges from pale purple-pink to yellowish, with a corolla that far surpasses the calyx. Ethnobotany: Used as a hair oil and the nectar was sucked in spring. Etymology: Castilleja is for the Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo (1744-1793), while sessiliflora means having sessile flowers. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015