Known by several names, Texas Indian Paintbrush, Entireleaf Indian Paintbrush, Texas Paintbrush, Indian Paintbrush, Scarlet Paintbrush, these reddish orange wildflowers are showing off along North Texas roadsides and in some fields now. Look for them along Refuge road when traveling to Hagerman NWR.
A description of Paintbrush, Castilleja indivisa Engelm. is found on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center site:
"One of the popular paintbrushes, this showy annual or biennial grows 6-16 in. high. Its several unbranched stems form clumps topped by bright-red, paintbrush-like spikes. The flowers are actually inconspicuous and greenish, but are subtended by showy, red-tipped bracts. They sometimes produce a light yellow or pure white variation mixed in with the reds. Together, the flowers and bracts form 3-8 in. spikes.
The roots of this plant will grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, penetrating these host roots to obtain a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush may kill it. Indian paintbrush has a reputation for being unpredictable. In some years, when bluebonnets (which flower at approximately the same time as Indian paintbrush) are especially colorful, paintbrush will have only an average flowering year. Other years, paintbrush is spectacular.
|Red and yellow Paintbrush at Hagerman NWR|
A different Paintbrush species, (Castilleja linariaefolia) was adopted as the State Flower of Wyoming in 1917.
A NativeAmerican legend of the Paintbrush is the subject of a popular children's book, read and illustrated in this video - https://youtu.be/gyaifWkUWr0.