Seaside Paintbrush

(Castilleja wightii)
Seaside Paintbrush
Paintbrush is pollinated by hummingbirds.

Will Elder,  NPS


Origin of Genus Name: Castilleja is named for Domingo Castillejo, late 18th century
Spanish botanist.

Presidio Locations: Found on brushy slopes throughout the dunes and dry banks near coast.

Range In State: California coast.

Description: This native perennial species has showy, bright red to yellow flowers with spout-like "petals" which are really modified leaves enclosing the tubular flowers. This bristly and sticky plant is a green-root parasite (grows into the roots of its host to steal water and nutrients) and is often found growing with Coyote Bush, Sagewort and Mock Heather. Blooms March to July.

California Native Uses: The Miwok stored dried seeds for use in winter. Indian Paintbrush has been used by the Maidu for food, as a diuretic and to cure bronchial problems. Tubatulabal boiled the entire plant and has applied it daily as a wash to treat rashes caused by poision oak. Kawaiisu used Indian Paintbrush to treat skin problems.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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