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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Orobanchaceae
Tribus: Pedicularideae
Genus: Castilleja
Species: Castilleja ambigua
Varieties: C. a. var. humboldtiensis – C. a. var. insalutata

Castilleja ambigua Hook. & Arn.

Castilleja ambigua subsp. ambigua
Orthocarpus castillejoides Benth.
Orthocarpus longispicatus Elmer
Orthocarpus maculatus Eastw.
Orthocarpus sonomensis Eastw.


It is native to western North America from British Columbia to California.

Botany of Captain Beechey's Voyage ; comprising an account of the plants collected by Messrs. Lay and Collie... 154. 1833


International Plant Names Index. 2017. Castilleja ambigua. Published online. Accessed: Oct. 04 2017.
The Plant List 2013. Castilleja ambigua in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Oct. 04. 2017. Castilleja ambigua. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: O4 Oct. 2017.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Castilleja ambigua in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
English: Johnny-nip

Castilleja ambigua is a species of Indian paintbrush known by the common name Johnny-nip. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to California, where it is most common along the coast in salt marshes and scrub.

This is a highly variable annual herb growing to a maximum height near 30 centimeters. The leaves are 1 to 5 centimeters long and lobed or not. The inflorescence is up to 12 centimeters long and a few wide. It is packed with bracts that have white to light purple ridged tips. Between the bracts emerge the lobed flowers, which are yellow to light purple or rose. The fruit is a capsule about a centimeter long.

There are three subspecies, two of which are endemic to California.

The Humboldt Bay owl's clover, Castilleja ambigua ssp. humboldtiensis, is considered a threatened plant in Northern California.

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