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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.
Scarlet paintbrush, Scarlet indian paintbrush, Painted cup, Indian paintbrush
Synonym(s): Castilleja ludoviciana
USDA Symbol: CACO17
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
1-2 ft., upright, hairy, annual or biennial with showy scarlet bracts which nearly hide the small greenish flowers. Flowers hidden in axils of scarlet-tipped, fan-shaped bracts and arranged in a dense spike. Leaves divide into three, narrow lobes.
The conspicuous, red-tipped bracts appear to have been dipped in paint. This genus of more than 200 species is especially common in the western United States. Purple Painted Cup (C. purpurea), with purple or violet bracts, occurs from southwestern Missouri to Texas. Great Plains Paintbrush (C. sessiliflora), found from Alberta east to Manitoba and south to Illinois, Missouri, and Texas, has green bracts. Pale Painted Cup (C. septentrionalis) has whitish or creamy bracts, often suffused with bronze or dull purple, and is found from Manitoba east to Newfoundland and south to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
, WV Canada: MB
, ON Native Distribution: MA
to s.e. Sask., s. to n. FL, MS, LA,
& e. KS Native Habitat:
Moist to dry prairies; meadows; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Damp, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Roots grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, then penetrate the roots of these host plants, obtaining a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush usually kills it.
Amerindians used weak flower
tea for rheumatism, female diseases, as a love charm in food and as a poison. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2011-02-07
Research By: TWC Staff