Featured in Featured Photographers – December 17, 2010
Indian paintbrush is a member of the figwort family. This perennial, that has a cluster of stems that grow upward from the base, can grow up to 60 cm. tall.
– The leaves of the Indian Paintbrush are long and narrow
– pointed but without teeth
– upper leaves can have 3 lobes and fine hairs
– Indian Painbrush flowers are set in clusters
– long, tube-like; pale green to red on the ends
– partly hidden by brilliant red, hairy and toothed bracts
– capsules with many seeds
– Indian Paintbrush grows in mid to high elevations
– dry to moist areas such as forests, roadsides and slopes
– Indian Paintbrush is found throughout most of British Columbia.
– It is easy to see why the plant received it’s name ‘paintbrush’. The tops look like they have been dipped in bright red paint.
– dyes have been made from the Indian Paintbrush plant.
The Northwest is a great place to catch several types of paintbrush. They are known for their bright red color, although it can vary from orange to scarlet to purple to even white or yellow. Their color comes from dense, bright bracts that surround the actual flower.
Because there are no places to perch on the Paintbrush, it requires “hovering” insects and birds for pollination. It also is the state flower for Wyoming.
The Paintbrush evoked the Native American legend of a young brave who tried to paint the sunset with his warpaints. Frustrated that he could not match the brilliance of nature, he ask for guidance from the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit gave him paintbrushes laden with the colors he so desired. With these, he painted his masterpiece and left the spent brushes in fields across the landscape. These brushes sprouted the flowers we now so wonderfully love!
Photographed in Ste. Rita, Manitoba, Canada.
Canon EOS 50D; Canon 17-85mm lens @85mm