Castilleja exserta – Exserted Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja exserta - Exserted Indian Paintbrush, Purple Owl's-clover

Castilleja exserta - Exserted Indian Paintbrush, Purple Owl's-clover

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Castilleja exserta

Synonym: Orthocarpus purpurascens

Common Names: Exserted Indian Paintbrush, Purple Owl's-clover

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb, Hemiparasite

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland

Flower Color: Magenta purple

Flowering Season: Spring

Height: To 18 inches (46 cm) tall

Description: The bilateral, magenta flowers have a narrow, hairy, beak-like upper lip and a broader lower lip with 3 yellow-tipped pouches. The flowers are surrounded by magenta-colored bracts that are densely clustered along the flower spikes. The leaves intergrade with the bracts and like them have 5 to 9, slender, glandular-hairy, primary lobes.

Seeds of this spring wildflower are commercially available and are commonly included in wildflower seed mixes.

Special Characteristics

Hummingbird Flower – The flowers attract hummingbirds.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Scrophulariaceae – Figwort family
Genus: Castilleja Mutis ex L. f. – Indian paintbrush
Species: Castilleja exserta (A. Heller) T.I. Chuang & Heckard – exserted Indian paintbrush

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map