Scarlet Gilia
(Scarlet skyrocket)
Ipomopsis aggregata (Pursh)

Collected along the Lolo Trail on the divide between the North Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa rivers, Idaho Co., Idaho, 26 Jun 1806. (Source)

The scarlet gilia is one of the most widely spread and common wild flowers, occurring from the lowest elevations to high mountains and blooming all summer. The finely cut light-green basal leaves often are silver speckled and are a common late summer and early spring sight. It trumpet like Flowers range from salmons to red/orange to scarlet. Early flower buds look similar to the Penstemon.  The flowers and foliage have an acrid odor when crushed, so "skunk-flower" is another name for the plant, although the odor really is not skunk-like.It is in flower from June to July.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. Occurs in dry meadows, dry rocky slopes in sagebrush, scrub and clearings in pine forests of  the Rocky Mountains.

Edible Uses
The plant has been boiled up as a tea. The nectar is sucked from the flowers by children.

Medical Uses
The whole plant is cathartic and emetic. The leaves are steeped in hot water until the water turns a bright green, this liquid is taken in small doses as a tonic for the blood. An infusion of the whole plant has been used to treat blood diseases. A decoction has been used as a disinfectant wash on itchy skin. A poultice of the whole plant has been applied to rheumatic joints. An infusion of the roots is used as a laxative and in the treatment of high fevers, colds.