Indian Paintbrush

Gerry Snyder Photo Credit

(Castilleja linariifolia)

Physical Characteristics – A perennial plant, and member of the figwort family. Stems reach 20 – 60 cm in height, and are covered sparsely with linear leaves, which grow from 5 – 7 cm in length. Flowers can be pinkish-red or a variety of colors, and grow in spikes at the heads of stems.

Habitat – Prefer well-drained, open foothills. Also found in montane zones throughout Clearwater.

Range – British Columbia and Alberta south to New Mexico.

Reproduction – Blooms each year from June – September in its native range.

Threats – Difficult to transplant successfully (don’t disturb wild plants).

Miscellaneous – Some researchers believe hummingbirds and paintbrushes evolved together. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, have no sense of smell, and need large amounts of nectar. Paintbrush are a variety of colors, have little to no scent, and produce abundant nectar. Hummingbirds’ long bills are also well fitted to the plant’s flowers.

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