Castilleja Angustifolia, Desert Indian Paintbrush


Plants > Wildflowers > Orobanchaceae > Castilleja Angustifolia

The narrow leaves and stems of castilleja angustifolia are green during moist periods but purplish when dry. Like most paintbrush species the most noticeable part of the flower head are the red bracts - modified leaves, with similar dimensions and characteristics to the leaves just below; the actual flowers are small, greenish-yellow, an inch long and tubular, projecting out just a little way at the top. Under optimum conditions the bracts are especially brilliant in color, seeming to glow from within. There are three varieties (var angustifolia, var flavescens and var dubia), of which the latter is most common, and also known as castilleja chromosa.

Common name: Desert Indian paintbrush, northwestern paintbrush
Family: Broomrape (Orobanchaceae)
Scientific name: Castilleja angustifolia, castilleja chromosa
Main flower color: Red
Range: All the western states; east to Montana, Wyoming, west Colorado and northwest New Mexico
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Habitat: Sandy soils, sagebrush plains, grassland, semi-desert locations
Leaves: Up to 2 inches long, thin, undivided near the base of the stem but split into 3 or 5 narrow lobes higher up
Season: April to August
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Cluster
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Four flower heads
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Purple leaves
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