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Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea
Castilleja purpurea (Nutt.) G. Don var. purpurea
Purple Paintbrush, Purple Prairie Painbrush, Prairie Paintbrush, Downy Indian Paintbrush
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
USDA Symbol: CAPUP5
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Villose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Capsule
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.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: KS , MO , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Southwest Missouri through eastern Oklahoma to central Texas
Native Habitat: Rocky, limestone grasslands
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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Vivid spring flowers for limestone prairies, meadows, and perennial gardens within its range
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract insect pollinators and hummingbirds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: If plant appears to be in decline, plant a prairie grass near it, as it's semi-parasitic on grass roots.
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MM-754 Collected 2010-07-14 in Hamilton County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 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.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-12-05
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG