Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:
Castilleja purpurea var. citrina (Lemon paintbrush)
Smith, Sandy

Castilleja purpurea var. citrina

Castilleja purpurea (Nutt.) G. Don var. citrina (Pennell) Shinners

Lemon Paintbrush, Yellow Paintbrush, Yellow Prairie Paintbrush, Citron Paintbrush, Prairie Paintbrush, Prairie Indian Paintbrush

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Synonym(s): Castilleja citrina, Castilleja labiata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Castilleja purpurea var. citrina, Lemon Paintbrush, shares most of the characteristics of its species, C. purpurea (Prairie Paintbrush), but has yellow floral bracts and a longer and more flaring lower corolla lip than varieties lindheimeri and purpurea. It is a grassland perennial found in gravelly or sandy limestone soils from central Kansas to central and west Texas. Like many Castilleja species, it has adapted to its prairie environment by becoming semi-parasitic on grass roots, so planting it alongside prairie grasses would be ideal for it.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Villose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Spike
Size Notes: Usually 6-9 inches high but can be twice that
Leaf: Green to grey-green
Flower: Bract spikes to 6 inches
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Usually blooms in May. Color ranges from pale to bright.


Native Distribution: Central Kansas south to central and west Texas
Native Habitat: Gravelly and sandy calcareous grasslands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Gravelly or sandy, calcareous (limestone)
Conditions Comments: Does best if planted among prairie grasses, as it's semi-parasitic on their roots.


Use Ornamental: Spring flowers good for meadows, prairies, and perennial gardens with calcareous soils
Use Wildlife: Attracts pollinating insects.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: If plants seem to be in decline, plant prairie grasses next to them.

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0794 Collected Apr 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0792 Collected Apr 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Castilleja purpurea var. citrina in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Castilleja purpurea var. citrina in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Castilleja purpurea var. citrina


Record Modified: 2009-12-05
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

Go back