Characterization of Floral diversity and host preferences of Parastic Plant; Castilleja coccinea in the Chicago Region
Castilleja coccinea is a semi-parasitic plant that produces flowers subtended by brightly colored bracts. In most cases the bracts of this species are red (coccinea= Latin word meaning "deep red") however many populations in the Chicago Region have yellowish bracts. We hope to map the variation of floral shape, color and major pollination throughout the region.As flower color is closely associated with pollinator preferences and competition for floral resources, we will also document the associated plant and insect community; to identify potential selection pressures which might be driving diveragence in flower color within this region. As part of this study we will also try to identify those plant species most closely associate with these plants and therefore identify potential host plants.