Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Castilleja exserta

Purple owl's clover, Owl's clover, Exserted Indian paintbrush, Escobita

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Castilleja exserta (Purple owl's clover)
An erect, little plant with a rose and yellow or rose and white flower cluster; flowers and flower bracts velvety and rose-purple on divided tips.

Following a wet spring, acre upon acre is carpeted with this beautiful wildflower. The Spanish name, Escobita, means “little broom” and describes the flower cluster. The origin of the English common name is unknown, but it may refer to the swollen, head-like ends of the erect corollas that seem to peer from the bracts as owls peer from the leaves of a tree. Careful study has demonstrated that this plant is not an Orthocarpus, as previously classified (O. purpurascens), but instead belongs to a lineage of Castilleja.

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AZ , CA , HI , ID , NM
Native Distribution: Southern California to southern Arizona and northern Mexico.
Native Habitat: Fields, deserts, and open, wooded areas.


Use Food: Seeds harvested by indigenous Californians.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes

Last Update: 2009-02-21