Common Red Paintbrush - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Common Red Paintbrush - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Common Red Paintbrush - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Common Red Paintbrush - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image 
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Pink or Red Flowers ( Other )
Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae)

Common Red Paintbrush
Castilleja miniata

Season: Spring/Summer
Habitat:
 Montane to Subalpine
Height:
 15-60 cm

Description: It's almost impossible to visit the Canadian Rockies and not notice these distinctive wildflowers. It is one of our most common flowers, and its bright colour makes it instantly catch the eye. First noticed, are the bright red or purple bracts that look like they have been freshly dipped in paint. The actual flowers are indistinct and protected by the bright petal-like bracts. The leaves are alternate, linear, smooth-margined. A close look at the leaves reveals three parallel veins.

This is a fascinating plant for another reason--the roots are parasitic, often stealing nutrients from surrounding plants, particularly aspen and poplar trees. Also, the bright colours of the fresh flowers help to protect the plants from the intense solar radiation found at high elevations. This may also be why the colours fade so quickly when exposed to the intense high altitude sunlight.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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