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Click to read about the Castilleja genus.

Castilleja miniata
Castilleja miniata
Castilleja miniata
Castilleja miniata subspecies miniata (Red Paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Above: Madden Peak Road, July 19, 2008 and Prairie Dog Knoll Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2004.
Left: Sharkstooth Trail, July 14, 2006.

This is what most of us think of when we think "Paintbrush":  Red. But as the pictures below indicate, this very common species of Paintbrush can also appear in shades of pink/salmon/orange. Castilleja miniata grows from lower elevations through the subalpine and is very common in mountain woods.  It is, according to Intermountain Flora, the second most widely distributed Castilleja in the world. 

Castilleja miniata is usually unbranched and the upper colored bracts are often (but not always) deeply cut into three, with the middle section considerably wider than the outer two.  C. miniata blooms through June and July and by mid-August its color is often faded and seeds swollen.

"Miniata" is Latin for "colored red".  Castilleja miniata was first collected by David Douglas in what is now Eastern Oregon/Washington in the early 1830's and was described by William Jackson Hooker in his Flora Boreali-Americana in 1838. (Click the title to read.)

Castilleja miniata
Castilleja miniata subspecies miniata (Red Paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lower Stoner Mesa Trail, June 23, 2005.

The gorgeous hot red/pink garners our attention, but the flowers are actually small green tubes.  As Castilleja plants age, the colored bracts spread outward and upward and the green tubular flowers elongate and become more visible. The red/orange structure surrounding the green flower is the tubular calyx.

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata

Castilleja miniata subspecies miniata (Red Paintbrush)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows.  Summer.
Roaring Fork Road, July 26, 2004.
Navajo Lake Trail, July 6, 2004.
Navajo Lake Trail, July 6, 2004.

Castilleja miniata is typically bright red but it is common to find an assortment of other colors.  Castilleja miniata does hybridize with Castilleja rhexiifolia and hybridization may account for some of the variety shown in the plants at left.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Castilleja miniata