Castilleja coccinea (Scarlet Paintbursh) - photos and description






Only tips of the bracts are orange-red in colour.

Foliage is villous, stems with purple lines.

Stem leaf in above photo

Plants have a basal rosette of leaves.

General: Annual plants with an erect, simple growth habit. Foliage villous, stems purplish.

Flowers: Inflorescence is a terminal flower spike of colourful bracts and sepals surrounding tubular, narrow corollas. The bracts and sepals have showy orange-red tips. There are a pair of sepals surrounding each corolla, the sepals are joined for about half their length, and are emarginate (notched at the apex). Corollas grow on the outside of the flower spike, we counted 5 corollas in one flower spike. We measured a corolla at 2 cm long, and the corolla at 5 mm longer than the sepals. The flower spike was measured at 3 cm long. The bracts were measured at 3 cm long, 21 mm wide. The lower 2/3 of each bract green in colour, the uppermost 1/3 of the bracts bright orange-red.

Leaves: Stem leaves are alternate, divided into narrow lobes. We measured a stem leaf 5.5 cm long and 5 cm wide. Plants have a rosette of basal leaves, the basal leaves lobed or entire.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 30 to 50 cm. We measured plants in the above photos to 30 cm tall.

Habitat: Moist meadows and ditches, southeast Saskatchewan.

Abundance: Extremely rare, ranked as an S1 (as of 2021) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre.

Origin: Native.

Similar species: This plant might be confused with Castilleja mineata, here are some differences between the two:

- Growth habit. Castilleja mineata is much more robust, often growing as a clump of many stems, and its stems are often divided towards the top. Castilleja coccinea has single, simple stems.

- Hairiness. Castilleja mineata is glabrous to sparingly hairy, while Castilleja coccinea has villous foliage.

- Leaves. Castilleja mineata has stem leaves that are entire and no rosette of basal leaves, while Castilleja coccinea has stem leaves that are divided and have a rosette of basal leaves.

- Inflorescence. Castilleja mineata has an inflorescence with showy bracts that are pinkish-red in colour, and which are coloured (not green) for their full length, while Castilleja coccinea has an inflorescence of bracts which are orange-red in colour, the bracts only coloured at the tips: green for their lower 2/3 and orange-red for their upper 1/3.

When and where photographed: Photos taken June 4th in a grassy highway ditch, 300 km east of our home in Regina, SK.