Scarlet Paintbrush
Castilleja miniata
Dougl. ex Hook.
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Castilleja

Description
General: perennial, stems few, erect or ascending from a
woody base, rarely creeping and rooting at the base, 20-80
cm tall, often branched, hairless to short-hairy or somewhat
sticky-long-hairy, particularly above.
Leaves: alternate, linear or lanceolate, sometimes
broader, 5-7 cm long, 3-nerved, ordinarily all entire, but
sometimes a few upper 3-lobed, hairless to short- or finely
long-hairy with simple hairs.
Flowers: several in a relatively short and broad cluster,
flowers and bracts close together. The flower cluster is
bright red or scarlet, occasionally crimson or rarely yellow,
at first short and broad, but often elongating in fruit. Bracts
oblong-ovate, more or less toothed or cleft, with pointed
segments, rarely entire, short- and long-hairy, often sticky.
Calyx 15-30 mm long, deeply and about equally cleft above
and below, its primary lobes again cleft into 2 usually linear
segments 3-9 mm long. Corolla 20-40 mm long, its short-
hairy galea 3/4 to about as long as the tube and 5 or more
times the length of the dark green, thickened, lower lip.
Flowering time: May-September.
Fruits:
capsules with many net-veined seeds.

Distribution
Meadows and slopes, medium and lower elevations in the
mountains, in w. and s.c. parts of MT. Also in every state
and province in w. N. America from AK to CA, AZ and NM.

Medicinal plant, see below.
(click on image for full size)


Contents
Identification
English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
(click on images for full size)

The Gitksan Indians of British Columbia made a decoction of seeds from scarlet paintbrush taken for coughs and taken as a purgative and diuretic. They also used the decoction for bleeding, lame back, stiff lungs and sore eyes. The children of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia and the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island sucked the flower nectar of these plants. The White Mountain Apache Indians of Arizona used the root bark with other substances to color various kinds of skins, especially deer skin. The Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island covered the bright flowers with snail slime and used the mixture to trap hummingbirds.


Varieties:

Our specimen belong to var. miniata var. miniata Dougl. ex Hook.


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