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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Desert Indian Paintbrush-Castilleja angustifolia

The bright red of desert Indian paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia, sometimes Castilleja chromosa) is livening up the sagebrush hills near my house. Indian paintbrush has classically been called part of the Figwort or Snapdragon Family (Scrophulariaceae) but has more recently been reassigned by some botanists in the Broomrape Family (Orobanchaceae).

It is a perennial plant, common throughout western North America. Often several different species of Castilleja can be found relatively close together. They are considered to be hemiparasitic, growing close to shrubs with deeper root systems from which they take water and nutrients.

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John W. Wall said...

Very cool blog! I look forward to keeping up with your explorations. By the way, I read some time ago that plants being "parasitized" by Castilleja do better than their lonely counterparts.

Desert Survivor said...

John-interesting about the 'parasitized' plants doing better. I'll look into that and see what I can find.