Click here for a great selection of Amazon.com books about temperate rainforests.
Indian PaintBrush Description
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Lamiales
- Family: Orobanchaceae
- Genus: Castilleja
- Species: There are approximately two hundred species
- These wildflowers are herbaceous plants (have a green leaf like appearance).
- Most Indian PaintBrushs have beautiful bright red bracts which are often confused as being their flowers. These bracts can also be various shades of orange, purple, and yellow. Sometimes their bracts can even be white.
- These plants are hemiparasites which means they can be parasitic, using a host plant to survive. Their roots intertwine with other plants such as various grasses or sagebrush in order to obtain nourishment.
Interesting Indian PaintBrush Facts
- The Indian PaintBrush also goes by the names Prairie Fire, Grandmothers Hair, Painted Cup, Common Red Paintbrush, Painted Lady, and Butterfly Weed.
- Numerous species of this plant can be found in temperate rainforests. For example the giant red paintbrush can be found in the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest United States.
- Some of the species are annuals (survive one season) where as others are perennials (survive more than one season).
- Their beautiful colors make them popular additions to gardens. However they are very difficult to successfully transplant into a garden.
- Because it is difficult or impossible for an insect or bird to perch on the pedals of this plant pollination is accomplished only by insects and birds that can hover.
- The flowers of this plant are actually edible. American Indians used the flowers as condiments. However they should be consumed in moderation due to the fact they absorb and concentrate selenium from the soil they grow in. Selenium is a trace mineral which is essential for humans to consume. However if large amounts are consumed it can lead to health risk. They should not be eaten in areas where there is a lot of selenium in the soil.
- American Indians used this plant for various purposes including as a hair wash, to enhance their immune system, as a treatment for rheumatism, and to treat sexually transmitted diseases.
- On January 31, 1917 the linariifolia species of Indian PaintBrushs became the state flower of Wyoming.