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    The Ipomopsis genus was named by Andre Michaux in 1803; 20th century Gilia experts, Verne and Alva Grant, re-assigned the Ipomopsis species shown on this web site page from the Gilia genus to the Ipomopsis genus in 1956.  

     "Ipomopsis" means "similar to Ipomoea" ("Morning Glories", one of which has a tubular red flower).

     The word "Gilia" is pronounced "Gee lee uh", because the plant was named for Italian clergyman and scientist, Filippo Luigi Gilii (gee lee ee).  (See biographical information.)

Click for more Ipomopsis aggregata photographs.

Click for Ipomopsis tenuituba photographs.

Ipomopsis aggregata

Ipomopsis aggregata

Ipomopsis aggregata

Ipomopsis aggregata
Ipomopsis aggregata.   Synonym: Gilia aggregata. (Scarlet Gilia)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, meadows, openings. Spring, summer, fall.
Above: Mona and Mike's Five Springs Farm, May 27, 2016 and Bolam Pass Road, August 2, 2014.
Left: Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 12, 2009.

Scarlet Gilia is one of our most widely spread and common wild flowers, occurring from the lowest elevations to high mountains and blooming from late spring through summer and into fall. The finely cut green basal leaves are silver speckled with fine white hairs and are easily identified even when no more of the plant has appeared. Flowers range from fiery red to red/orange and, most rarely, to yellow.  Early flower buds look similar to the Penstemon, Scarlet Bugler, another very common, long-blooming, bright red flower in the Four Corners area.

The species name "aggregata", is from the Latin for "brought together", probably referring to the cluster of flowers.

Scarlet Gilia was first described by Frederick Pursh in 1814 from a specimen collected by Meriwether Lewis along the Lolo Trail in Idaho.  Pursh called the plant, "Cantua aggregata".  The plant has endured dozens of scientific name changes since 1814. The name "Gilia aggregata" was given in 1825 by Sprengel and in 1956 Polemoniaceae experts, Verne and Alva Grant assigned the name, "Ipomopsis aggregata", but as often happens with a name that has been so long used, the "Gilia" part of the name just wouldn't die and remains with the plant in its most often used common name, "Scarlet Gilia".

Ipomopsis aggregata
Ipomopsis aggregata.   Synonym: Gilia aggregata. (Scarlet Gilia)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, meadows, openings. Spring, summer, fall.
Roaring Fork Road, June 29, 2006.

Ipomopsis aggregata
Ipomopsis aggregata.   Synonym: Gilia aggregata. (Scarlet Gilia)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, meadows, openings. Spring, summer, fall.
Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 12, 2009.

Notice the stamens and anthers protruding beyond the throat of the flower.  This is one key factor distinguishing I. aggregata from I. tenuituba.

Ipomopsis aggregata.   Synonym: Gilia aggregata. (Scarlet Gilia)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, meadows, openings. Spring, summer, fall.
Roaring Fork Road, June 29, 2006.

Ipomopsis aggregata.   Synonym: Gilia aggregata. (Scarlet Gilia)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, meadows, openings. Spring, summer, fall.
Ryman Creek Trail, May 18, 2006.

The basal, green, finely cut leaves of Scarlet Gilia are a common sight from the Pinyon-Juniper forests to mountain meadows. The leaves over-winter so they, like the basal leaves of Eriogonum alatum (Winged Buckwheat), are familiar sights to many hikers.  Looking at leaves of Scarlet Gilia with a hand lens will show glistening silvery hairs along the surface.

Click for more Ipomopsis aggregata photographs.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Ipomopsis aggregata