Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Downy Indian Paintbrush
Castilleja purpurea

Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Castilleja (kas-tee-LEE-uh) (Info)
Species: purpurea (pur-PUR-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Castilleja lindheimeri

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Parasites and Hemiparasites

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By sweezel
Thumbnail #1 of Castilleja purpurea by sweezel


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral sweezel On Apr 26, 2007, sweezel from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

According to Shinners & Mahlerís Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas there are 3 varieties of Castilleja purpurea - var. citrina, var. lindheimeri, and var. purpurea. They are known to hybridize in certain counties of Texas and create other colors including white.

Neutral htop On Feb 5, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant which is classified as a subshrub. It is rather uncommon and is native to Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. It thrives in dry caliche or sandy soils of hilly areas, grasslands, prairies and slopes. The color of the "blooms" listed are the colors of the bracts. The blooms are rather inconspicuous and are a light green or creamy color (some may be tinged with color).There are at least 10 species in Texas with varying bract and bloom colors. The color of the "blooms" listed include various species. In areas where more than one variety occurs, integression of colors is not unusual.

This plant is semiparasitic on other plants which makes it almost impossible to transplant. All paintbrushes are semiparasitic. The genus was named after Juan Domingo Castillejo, a Spanish botanist in 1781.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lipan, Texas
Merit, Texas
Santo, Texas

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