Castilleja tenuiflora – Santa Catalina Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja tenuiflora - Santa Catalina Indian Paintbrush, Catalina Indian Paintbrush

Castilleja tenuiflora - Santa Catalina Indian Paintbrush, Catalina Indian Paintbrush

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Castilleja tenuiflora

Synonyms: Castilleja laxa, C. canescens

Common Names: Santa Catalina Indian Paintbrush, Catalina Indian Paintbrush

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb, Hemiparasite

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland. This wildflower grows in rocky areas in pine-oak woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, and mountain canyons from 4000 to 6000 feet (1200 to 1800 m) in elevation.

Flower Color: Red, Orange

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Height: Up to 40 inches (1 m) tall, but usually less

Description: The floral tubes are beak-like, mostly yellow or greenish in color, enclosed by hairy, red or orange, entire (unlobed and untoothed), lance-shaped, petal-like floral bracts, and well-exserted from the much shorter bracts. The flowers are followed by egg-shaped seed capsules. The leaves are green, sessile, alternate, hairy above and below, thin and lax (not rigid), spreading to semi-reflexed on the stems, all simple (undivided), all entire, and linear-lanceolate in shape. The stems are erect, much-branched, and covered with long, straight, stiff, unmatted hairs. The plants are partial root parasites of nearby plants.

The similar Sierra Woolly Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja lanata), Wyoming Indian Paintbrush (C. linariifolia), and Huachuca Mountain Indian Paintbrush (C. patriotica) have toothed or lobed floral bracts and/or upper leaves. Rincon Mountain Indian Paintbrush (C. austromontana) has leaves that are hairless above. Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush (C. integra) has stems covered with woolly, appressed, matted hairs and leaves that are almost hairless above. Lesser Indian Paintbrush (C. minor) has less showy flowers with very narrow, linear bracts. Trans-Pecos Indian Paintbrush (C. nervata) has thick, rigid leaves and non-exserted floral tubes.

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 tenuiflora Benth. – Santa Catalina Indian paintbrush

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map