Indian Paintbrush

Genus Castilleja
Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae)

Paintbrush growing with rabbitbrush

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja) can be found in many different habitats around the state, from high alpine areas down to the driest deserts. But you would have a very hard time getting them to grow in your garden! They are often partly parasitic on the roots of other plants, such as sagebrush and rabbitbrush. This makes them very difficult (or impossible) to grow in a home garden, which does not have the needed host plants.

See photos of some Castilleja plants
from the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah.

This genus is named for Domingo Castillejo, an eighteenth century Spanish botanist. The region where Castilleja most commonly occurs (the southwestern part of present day United States) was under the jurisdiction of Spain until 1821, and then Mexico until 1848, so it is not surprising that a Spanish botanist would be the first to study and name the genus.

Some of the species that might be found in the desert area of southeastern Utah are:
   Castilleja chromosa
   Castilleja exilis
   Castilleja linariifolia
   Castilleja scabrida

Wayne County, Utah


by Sandra Bray