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Castilleja miniata (Giant red indian paintbrush)
Glase, Terry

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata Douglas ex Hook.

Giant Red Indian Paintbrush, Meadow Paintbrush

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: CAMI12

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

An erect perennial, from 1 1/2-3 ft. tall, with stems either unbranched or somewhat branched above. The flower cluster of this leafy plant resembles a ragged, crimson or scarlet paintbrush, calyx and bracts beneath each flower brightly colored. Leaves are lance-shaped and the torch-like flower spike is made up of vibrant orange, red or pink bracts and sepals hiding the small, green flowers.

Most "Indian paintbrushes" are partial parasites on other plants, their roots establishing connections with roots of other species. For this reason, they usually cannot be transplanted, and are difficult to grow from seed.


From the Image Gallery

62 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Orange , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , ND , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , ON , SK , YT
Native Distribution: AK to AZ, e. to the Rockies
Native Habitat: Wet mountain meadows and stream banks below 11,000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet to moist, well-drained 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.


Description: Sow seeds in fall with seeds of an herbaceous perennial. Bouteloua gracilis has been recommended as a host.
Seed Treatment: Sow seeds in fall with seeds of an herbaceous perennial. Bouteloua gracilis has been recommended as a host.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native, non-invasive plant seeds for each region in U.S.
June 09, 2006
I need to identify a wildflower from each region that we can package in custom packaging to use as giveaways at our member zoos and aquariums. Our project this year is called Conservation Made Simple...
view the full question and answer

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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.3 - Butterfly Gardens, Director\'s Report, Proper Care Gives Staying Power to Cut Fl...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Castilleja miniata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Castilleja miniata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Castilleja miniata


Record Modified: 2022-10-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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