Indian Paintbrush

Rhexia-leaf Indian Paintbrush, courtesy of Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte,

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

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 Adaptations:

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.