Indian Paintbrush

    Indian Paintbrush

    Common Name(s):

    Indian paintbrush

    Scientific Name:

    Castilleja sp. Mutis ex L.f.

    Scientific Name Synonyms:

    None known




    Life Span: Perennial

    Origin: Native

    Season: Cool

    Growth Characteristics: A 9 to 18 inches tall forb. Reproduces by seed and tillering.

    Flowers/Inflorescence: Flowers are inconspicuous, surrounded by leafy, colorful bracts. The showy effect of this plant is produced by these bracts, which occur in a variety of colors (pale yellow to deep purple).

    Fruits/Seeds: Fruit is a capsule.

    Leaves: Linear or lance-shaped, alternating along the erect stem. Margins entire or lobed.

    Ecological Adaptions:

    Indian paintbrush is widespread throughout Utah, occurring from the desert floors to the subalpine meadows. Some species are known to be partial root-parasites, especially with sagebrush.

    Soils: Can occur in a variety of soils, but most abundant in loams.

    Associated Species: Sagebrush, aspen, bromes, lupine.

    Uses and Management:

    Indian paintbrush's main importance is its aesthetic value. Palatability of Indian paintbrush has been rated as fair to good for sheep, poor to fair for cattle, and poor for horses.

    Indian Paintbrush
    Rhexia-leaf Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja rhexifolia). Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte,