Giant Red Paintbrush 2011

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011

  • Castilleja miniata Douglas ex Hook.
  • Giant red Indian paintbrush, Great red indian-paintbrush, Meadow paintbrush
  • Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
  • Synonym(s):
  • USDA Symbol: CAMI12
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

An erect perennial, from 1 1/2-3 ft. tall, with stems either unbranched or somewhat branched above. The flower cluster of this leafy plant resembles a ragged, crimson or scarlet paintbrush, calyx and bracts beneath each flower brightly colored. Leaves are lance-shaped and the torch-like flower spike is made up of vibrant orange, red or pink bracts and sepals hiding the small, green flowers.

Most Indian paintbrushes are partial parasites on other plants, their roots establishing connections with roots of other species. For this reason, they usually cannot be transplanted, and are difficult to grow from seed.

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