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Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's paintbrush)
Carr, Bill

Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri

Castilleja purpurea (Nutt.) G. Don var. lindheimeri (A. Gray) Shinners

Lindheimer's Paintbrush, Lindheimer's Prairie Paintbrush, Lindheimer's Indian Paintbrush, Prairie Paintbrush

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Synonym(s): Castilleja mearnsii, Castilleja williamsii

USDA Symbol: capul

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri shares most of the characteristics of its species, C. purpurea, but is distinguished by floral bracts in a range of oranges and reds. It is more often found in clay soils than varieties citrina and purpurea. This perennial paintbrush ranges from the Blackland prairies of north-central Texas south to the Rio Grande plains in calcareous gravels, sands, and clays. A prairie plant adapted to its environment by part-parasitizing grass roots.

This variety is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.


From the Image Gallery

10 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
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually 6-9 inches tall but can be twice that.
Leaf: Green to grey-green
Flower: Spikes to 6 inches long. Individual flowers within bracts 25-40 mm

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Orange
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Usually blooms in May. Color ranges from red to orange to peach.


Native Distribution: North-central Texas to south Texas
Native Habitat: Calcareous grasslands of clay, gravel, or sandy soils

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: Calcareous clays, sands, and gravels.
Conditions Comments: Does best when in association with prairie grasses, as it semi-parasitizes their roots.


Use Ornamental: Orange-bracted grasslands perennial for calcareous, especially clay, soils in its Texas range.
Use Wildlife: Attracts insect pollinators.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Plant prairie grasses nearby if plant appears to be in decline.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0793 Collected Apr 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0791 Collected Apr 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0760 Collected Apr 24, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

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


Record Modified: 2019-04-10
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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