Definitions

castilleja sulphurea

Castilleja

Castilleja, commonly known as Indian paintbrush or Prairie-fire, is a genus of about 200 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants native to the west of the Americas from Alaska south to the Andes, as well as northeast Asia. These plants are classified in the family Orobanchaceae, They are semi-parasitic on the roots of grasses and forbs.

Castilleja species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia cupes (which has been recorded on C. exserta) and Schinia pulchripennis (which feeds exclusively on C. exserta), and checkerspot butterflies such as Euphydryas species.

One of the species of this genus, Castilleja linariifolia, was adopted on January 31, 1917 as the state flower of Wyoming.

Uses and toxicity

The flowers of Indian paintbrush are edible and sweet, and were consumed in moderation by various American Indian tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. These plants have a tendency to absorb and concentrate Selenium in their tissues from the soils in which they grow, and can be potentially very toxic if the roots or green parts of the plant are consumed.

The Chippewa Indians used a hairwash made from Indian Paintbrush to make their hair glossy and full bodied and as a treatment for rheumatism. The high selenium content of this plant has been cited as the reason for its effectiveness for these purposes. Nevada Indian Tribes used the plant to treat venereal diseases and to enhance the immune system. Various other tribes used the plant as its name suggests -- as a paintbrush .

The high Selenium content of this plant makes it potentially toxic if consumed in large quantities. This plant should be avoided as food if found growing in highly alkaline soils, which will increase the selenium levels in the plants. Indian Paintbrush has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation.

Selected species

Castilleja affinis Coast Indian paintbrush
Castilleja ambigua Paintbrush owl's clover
Castilleja angustifolia Northwestern Indian paintbrush
Castilleja annua Annual Indian paintbrush
Castilleja applegatei Applegate's Indian paintbrush, Wavyleaf Indian paintbrush
Castilleja arachnoidea Cobwebby Indian paintbrush
Castilleja arvensis
Castilleja attenuata Narrowleaf owl's clover
Castilleja caudata Port Clarence Indian paintbrush
Castilleja cervina Deer Indian paintbrush
Castilleja chromosa Desert Indian paintbrush, Desert paintbrush
Castilleja coccinea Scarlet Indian paintbrush, Scarlet painted-cup
Castilleja cusickii Cusick's Indian paintbrush
Castilleja densiflora
Castilleja ecuadorensis
Castilleja elegans Elegant Indian paintbrush
Castilleja elmeri Elmer's Indian paintbrush
Castilleja exserta Purple owl's clover, Purple Indian paintbrush, Exserted Indian paintbrush, escobita. Formerly in Orthocarpus.
Castilleja foliolosa Texas Indian paintbrush
Castilleja fruticosa
Castilleja fulva Elko Indian paintbrush
Castilleja guadalupensis (extinct)
Castilleja hispida Harsh Indian paintbrush
Castilleja hyetophila Coastal red Indian paintbrush
Castilleja hyperborea Northern Indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa Entireleaf Indian paintbrush, Texas paintbrush
Castilleja lanata Sierra woolly Indian paintbrush
Castilleja lemmonii Lemmon's Indian paintbrush
Castilleja levisecta Golden paintbrush
Castilleja linariifolia Narrowleaf Indian paintbrush
Castilleja lutescens Stiff yellow Indian paintbrush
Castilleja miniata Greater red Indian paintbrush
Castilleja minor Smallflower Indian paintbrush, lesser Indian paintbrush
Castilleja mollis Softleaf Indian paintbrush
Castilleja mutis
Castilleja neglecta Tiburon Indian paintbrush
Castilleja nubigena
Castilleja occidentalis Western Indian paintbrush
Castilleja pallescens Pallid Indian paintbrush
Castilleja pallida
Castilleja parviflora Small-flowered Indian paintbrush
Castilleja parvula
Castilleja raupii Raup's Indian paintbrush, Raup's painted-cup
Castilleja rhexiifolia Rhexia-leaf Indian paintbrush, splitleaf Indian paintbrush
Castilleja rubicundula Cream sacs
Castilleja rupicola Cliff Indian paintbrush
Castilleja septentrionalis Labrador Indian paintbrush, Northern paintbrush
Castilleja sessiliflora Downy Indian paintbrush, Downy paintbrush
Castilleja socorrensis
Castilleja sulphurea Sulphur Indian paintbrush
Castilleja tenuis Hairy owl's clover
Castilleja thompsonii Thompson's Indian paintbrush
Castilleja unalaschcensis Alaska Indian paintbrush
Castilleja yukonis Yukon Indian paintbrush

References

External links


Jepson Manual - taxonomic description of the genus.

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