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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea (Nutt.) G. Don
Purple paintbrush, Purple prairie painbrush, Prairie paintbrush, Downy Indian paintbrush
USDA Symbol: CAPUP5
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea, Purple Paintbrush, has the widest range of natural colors of any of the three varieties of its species, C. purpurea, usually some shade of purple, but occasionally also shades of red, orange, yellow, or white. Favoring grasslands with rocky limestone soils, it ranges from southwest Missouri southwest to central Texas. Like many paintbrushes, it is semi-parasitic on prairie grasses and is thus ideal for meadow and prairie plantings. It is a perennial.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
, Linear Leaf Pubescence:
Villose Leaf Margin: Entire Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Spike Size Notes:
Usually 6-9 inches but can be twice that Leaf:
Green to grey-green Flower:
Spikes to 6 inches. Individual flowers within bracts 25-40 mm.
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May
KS , MO , OK , TX Native Distribution:
Southwest Missouri through eastern Oklahoma to central Texas Native Habitat:
Rocky, limestone grasslands USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky limestone outcrops preferred
Conditions Comments: Semi-parasitic on grass roots so prairies, meadows necessary.
Vivid spring flowers for limestone prairies, meadows, and perennial
gardens within its range Use Wildlife:
Flowers attract insect pollinators and hummingbirds. Conspicuous Flowers:
Hummingbirds Nectar Source:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: If plant appears to be in decline, plant a prairie grass near it, as its semi-parasitic on grass roots.
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MM-754
Collected 2010-07-14 in Hamilton County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2009-12-05
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG