Castilleja miniata, 4" pot
Habit: sprouting from a woody base, few to several erect, slender stems staying stout at higher elevations and taller at lower elevations. The entire plant can be covered in hairs or smooth. Green to dark purple leaves are lance shaped (narrow with sharp tips) alternate and coated in thin hairs. Inflorescence is arranged terminally producing a glowing reddish-orange leaf bract. Individual flowers are tubular with red sepals and green petals and almost entirely enfolded in a long, tubular, greenish calyx. Blooms May-Sept.
Ecology: found commonly in moist, wetland habitats in the Western United States and Canada, from lower to sub-alpine elevations of 4900-11,500 ft (1493-3505 m) also found in open meadows, grassy slopes, and moist rocky ridges.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, in moist to dry soil, versatile plant.
Red bracts attract hummingbirds. Paintbrush roots are parasitic, haustoria roots, attaching to a nearby host plant taking nutrients and water from the host. They do not completely deplete the nutrients from the host plant, plant near grass or another perennial.
photo credit: Scarlet Paintbrush, Mount Rainier National Park, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)