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Photo: Castilleja septentrionalis

Castilleja septentrionalis Lindl.

Northern Painted Cup

Habitat: Rocky or gravelly (often calcareous) shores. [Non-tidal rivershore (non-forested, seasonally wet), Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Labrador south to Maine west to Michigan and Utah, north to Alberta.

Aids to Identification: Northern painted cup is a perennial herb of moist, calcareous or peaty soils. It is characterized by growing up to 50 cm tall with alternate, simple, sessile (i.e. lacking a pedicel), linear-lanceolate leaves. The flowering stems are hairy with white-purple tinged bracts. The white with purple tinge flower is bi-lipped with 5 fused petals. Flowers are borne at the end of the stems.

Photo: Castilleja septentrionalis

Ecological characteristics: Found in cool, moist habitats including on Mount Katahdin and the St. John River. Unclear why populations sizes in New England are small.

Phenology: Flowering June-July.

Family: Orobanchaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae).

Synonyms: Formerly known as Castilleja pallida (L.) Spreng. var. septentrionalis (Lindl.) Gray.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 13 towns in the following counties: Aroostook, Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1892, 1909, 1976, 1977, 1980 (3), 1981 (2), 1982 (3), 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989 (4), 1991, 1993, 1997, 1999 (4), 2000, 2001 (11)

Photo: Castilleja septentrionalis

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern edge of range, calcareous habitat is scarce in Maine.

Conservation considerations: The populations in Maine are small, but persisting at known locations.