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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.

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

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Sunday - April 03, 2005

From: Galveston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Genetics reason for color variation in Indian paintbrush
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are the color variations in Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) a matter of genetic mutation or minerals in the soil? I say it's genetic and the rest of the family says it's environmental.

ANSWER:

Congratulations! You are right that the color variations of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) are due to genetics. "Normal" color variations range from carmine to brick red to salmon. Less common are yellow- and white-flowered individuals. While soil conditions can have a small effect on flower color, the variations you are seeing are genetic in origin.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa

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