Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paintbrush)

Plant Info
Also known as: Scarlet Painted-cup
Genus:Castilleja
Family:Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade; sandy soil; fields, prairies, open woods
Bloom season:May - August
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are clustered at the top of the plant and at the end of stems arising from leaf axils near the top of the plant, though most plants are unbranched. Individual flowers are about ¾ inch long, tubular, green to yellow with a protruding style that often curves down at the tip. The bracts are showy and seem more petal-like, hairy, lobed in 3 to 5 parts, red to orange (rarely yellow) at the tip end and usually green at the base. Clusters are dense spikes that elongate as the plant matures.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] There are both basal and stem leaves. Basal leaves are oblong to egg-shaped, typically wither away by the time the flowers bloom. Stem leaves are to 3 inches long, alternately attached, stemless, and usually deeply divided into 3 lobes, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaves and stems are hairy; stems are green or more often reddish brown.

Notes:

Indian Paintbrush is partially parasitic. Host plants include various native prairie grasses, such as hairy grama and June grass, as well as other wildflowers. All of the Castilleja species were formerly in family Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) but have been reassigned to Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) along with other parasitic species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken along highways in Aitkin County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Patsi - Bovey
on: 2011-04-18 12:54:07

When I was very young I lived there, back in the 40's.. Lots of beautiful red Indian Paintbrush

Posted by: Anita Huju between Effie & Togo
on: 2011-09-16 13:52:04

I have been wondering why we do not see the Indian Paintbrush anymore. In the 1960's there always seemed to be alot on the roadsides by Big Deer Lake by Effie.

Posted by: Angela - Red Lake State Wildlife Management Area
on: 2012-04-23 11:05:21

When stopping four wheeling trail side in many places along this area we saw many of these delicate and beautiful flowers. A beautiful place to find many wildflowers. Not a heavily used area with pretty good access if the trails are not too wet.

Posted by: Joyce - Stewart, MN McLeod Co
on: 2012-08-22 22:59:33

Growing up in Morrison County I saw these all the time, have never seen them here in McLeod Co.

Posted by: Keith - Mille Lacs Wildlife Area
on: 2014-05-20 15:01:22

I've found Paintbrush growing in the road ditches in the boundaries of the wildlife area and in many Mille Lacs County ditches.

Posted by: Darlene - Williams in Lake of the Woods County
on: 2014-07-17 23:34:27

They are growing in ditches by where I grew up. Love taking pictures of them. Great childhood memory.

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