Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paintbrush)
|Also known as:||Scarlet Painted-cup|
|Life cycle:||annual, biennial|
|Habitat:||part shade; sandy soil; fields, prairies, open woods|
|Bloom season:||May - August|
|Plant height:||6 to 24 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
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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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Indian Paintbrush plants
- more flowers
- Indian Paintbrush with yellow bracts
- more flowers
- Indian Paintbrush habitat
- a branched plant
Photos by K. Chayka taken along highways in Aitkin County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
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