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CASTILLEJA indivisa

Image of Castilleja indivisa

Family

Scrophulariaceae

Botanical Name

CASTILLEJA indivisa

Plant Common Name

Entireleaf Indian Paintbrush, Texas Paintbrush

General Description

The fiery red plumes of Texas paintbrush cannot be missed when they bloom in spring. This native of the South Central United States and adjacent Mexico is an annual or biennial wildflower that favors prairies, grasslands and open woods where soils are well-drained and dry. Like other Castilleja it's a parasitic plant with roots that penetrate those of other plants to drain essential nutrients and moisture.

The leaves of this clump-forming wildflower are slender and green. As plants prepare to bloom in spring, the stem tips develop plumes of bracts (petal-like leaves) that are creamy green at the base and crimson orange at the tips. Inconspicuous tubular flowers appear at the bract bases. These are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Small, seed-filled capsules follow.

Indian paintbrush is best admired in a wild setting because it’s so difficult to grow in the garden. Wild populations thrive in full sun and moist or dry, slightly acid soil with average to good drainage. The host plants for this species are most commonly meadow grasses. If host plants are made available then it is possible to grow Indian paintbrush in a garden setting, if one can find seed.

Texas paintbrush is the larval host plant of the buckeye butterfly.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    South-Central United States, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Crimson, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes