En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 20, 2004

From: Butte, MT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Indian paintbrush wedding
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff


I live in western Montana and have become quite fond of the flower known as indian paintbrush. I will be getting married this next July, and would like to incorporate the flower into my wedding; However, I was wondering if you knew who I could talk to about finding out if there is such a thing as a domestic look a like for this flower.


Indian Paintbrush (botanical: Castilleja sp.) is a robust genera, with around 20 species occurring within your state. I do not know if there is a specialty grower/florist in your region that would be able to cater to your needs. However, this genera is in the Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae), and you may be able to find a native plant within the family that closely resembles your preferred species of Indian Paintbrush. There are some Penstemon sp. (some red species) that are native to your eco-region, as well as Delphinium sp.; generally, delphinium do not produce the brilliant red flowers with which you are accustomed, but may be a good replacement regarding form. I recommend contacting your local chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society. They will definately be able to provide you with an answer that will come close to your needs. Also, try your local Agricultural Extension agent (Montana Extension Agency) to retrieve input on options for Paintbrush replacements.


More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Search for Silver Magnolia from Coram NY
July 11, 2012 - Hi, 20+ years ago I purchased a small tree labeled Silver Magnolia from a catalog. It was a sapling about 8 inches high when I first received it but amazing! The bloom the first year was as big as my ...
view the full question and answer

Possible source of dermatitis in Wisconsin
November 10, 2008 - I hunt in a Marshy area in central WI. I have had a breakout on my skin that is not from poison ivy. There is a plant that has pine like needles on it that look like dried up pine needles that is ye...
view the full question and answer

Sophora seeds to give away
April 13, 2016 - When we moved to TX years ago we bought a mountain laurel so we could have the beautiful purple flowers and were disappointed when the flowers every year were white (with a few purple ones here and th...
view the full question and answer

Landscape professional to maintain native plants
December 20, 2014 - Had native plants & buffalo grass professionaly planted earlier this year. Have had trouble finding maintenance services for our yard. Any suggestions on how to find a knowledgeable crew? Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Native Indian Rice Grass cultivation as food source
September 30, 2006 - Hi! I'm a student at UT and I ran across a grass while doing some reseach, native to Utah and Arizona, called Indian Ricegrass. It was used as a famine plant among native communities, however, it w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center