• South Window

    Arches

    National Park Utah

Common Paintbrush (Slickrock Paintbrush; Early Paintbrush)

Castilleja chromosa

Castilleja chromosa

Family: Scrophulariaceae - Figwort Family

Perennial herbs; some parasitic or semi-parasitic; 4” to 1.8' (1 to 5.5 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate; simple; linear; divided; 1” to 2.8” (2.5 to 7 cm) long

Flowers: 4 or 5 united green tubular petals are irregular and 2-lipped (the upper lip beaklike with 2 lobes and the lower lip shorter with 3 lobes); 4 at least partially united tubular variously colored sepals; 4 stamens; flowerlike bracts are reddish and tubular; bilaterally symmetrical; usually bisexual; flowers are 0.8” to 1.44” (2 to 3.6 cm) long, upper lip is 0.36” to 0.72” (9 to 18 mm) long

Pollinators: other Castilleja species are pollinated by insects and hummingbirds; red paintbrush is generally hummingbird pollinated and yellow, green, or purple paintbrush is generally bee pollinated

Fruits: 2 chambered capsule (dry fruit)

Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub, grassland and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: on park road mile 0 to 4, Windows road, park road mile 11 to 12, Delicate Arch trail, Delicate Arch Viewpoint

Other: The genus, “Castilleja”, honors Domingo Castillejo, an 18th century Spanish botanist and the species name, “chromosa”, means “red” which describes the color of the flower's bracts.

This plant is hemiparasitic (partiallyhalf-parasite). It is a water parasite that survives drought by attaching to the roots of other plants using them as a source of water.

This family is important because of many ornaments and cardiac glycosides can be derived from foxglove.

Did You Know?

Pinyon Pine

Pinyon trees do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new trees instead of a quick meal.