WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Unlike most paintbrushes, this large-scale species reaches 3 1/2-feet tall with multiple stems and showy spikes of scarlet flowers. The stems are hairless or with short hairs and gray-green turning purplish-red. Note the narrow, usually lobed leaves rolled inward along midrib, and the pointed green flowers extended beyond the red bracts.


FLOWERS: April–October. A loose spike 2–8-inches (5–20 cm) long with short hairs is lined with flowers with red bracts 5/8–1 1/4-inches (15–30 mm) long, lance-shaped, and with 3 narrow lobes; the greenish-yellow, beak-like flower has a red margin and extends beyond the sepal tube (calyx) and bracts.


LEAVES: Alternate. Linear, narrow, 3/4–2 3/8-inches (2–6 cm) long, entire or with 1–3 narrow lobes, margins often curl inward; surfaces mostly hairless.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky soils, roadsides; desert scrub, sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa, fir-aspen forests.


ELEVATION: 4,300–10,000 feet.


RANGE: Widespread in Rocky Mountain states and westward. State flower of Wyoming.


SIMILAR SPECIES: About 21 species of paintbrush in NM. The clumps of tall, reddish stems and narrow, linear leaves help identify this species.


NM COUNTIES: Dry mid-elevation habitats in the western 2/3 of NM.

WYOMING  PAINTBRUSH

CASTILLEJA  LINARIIFOLIA

Broomrape Family, Orobanchaceae (formerly in Scrophulariaceae, Snapdragon Family)

Perennial hemiparasitic herb

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  1. 1.Pointed green flower with red margin (upper arrow) extends beyond red sepal tube (calyx) (middle arrow).

  2. 2.Woolly, red  or red-tipped bracts with 3 narrow lobes (lower arrow).

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