Indian Paintbrush

The Indian Paintbrush seem to be particularly vibrant this year…

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Castilleja sp.

One of the popular paintbrushes, this showy annual or biennial grows 6-16 in. high. Its several unbranched stems form clumps topped by bright-red, paintbrush-like spikes. The flowers are actually inconspicuous and greenish, but are subtended by showy, red-tipped bracts. Together, the flowers and bracts form 3-8 in. spikes.

The roots of this plant will grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, penetrating these host roots to obtain a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush may kill it. Indian paintbrush has a reputation for being unpredictable. In some years, when bluebonnets (which flower at approximately the same time as Indian paintbrush) are especially colorful, paintbrush will have only an average flowering year. Other years, paintbrush is spectacular.

The roots of this plant will grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, penetrating these host roots to obtain a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush may kill it.

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