Lemmon’s Indian paintbrush ~ Castilleja lemmonii
Castilleja lemmonii is a species of Indian paintbrush known by the common name Lemmon’s Indian paintbrush. It is native to the high mountain ranges of eastern California and just into western Nevada, where it grows in moist meadows. It is a perennial herb 10 to 20 centimeters tall coated in glandular hairs. The leaves are 2 to 4 centimeters long and linear to narrowly lance-shaped. The inflorescence is made up of many purple- or pink-tipped greenish bracts. Between the bracts appear small yellowish flowers.
Botany Photo of the Day
I’ve returned from two weeks of work in the field and two weeks of vacation, but here is another entry from Taisha today while I continue to catch up on correspondence. Taisha writes:
Thanks to Eric Hunt.@Flickr for this photograph of Castilleja lemmonii, or Lemmon’s Indian paintbrush. It was taken in July of 2009 in an alpine meadow between California’s Greenstone Lake and Saddlebag Lake, located in the Inyo National Forest of Mono County. Thanks, Eric!
Castilleja lemmonii is perennial species native to California. It is found in moist meadows in the southern Cascades and the Sierra Nevada at elevations of 1550-3700 m. Grey-green lanceolate leaves are held on an unbranched stem that can reach up to 20 cm in height. The inflorescence consists of a collection of pink to purple-red bracts that surround green tubular flowers.
Indian Paintbrush – Officially known as Castilleja, and also called Prairie-fire, this is a genus of about 200 species of Broomrape family, that are native to the west of the Americas from Alaska south to the Andes. The flowers of Indian Paintbrush are edible and sweet, and were consumed in moderation by various Native American tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. These plants can be potentially very toxic if the roots or green parts of the plant are consumed. It has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation. The Chippewa Indians are know the use Indian Paintbrush as a medicine to treat rheumatism and as a bath rinse to make their hair glossy. Both applications are useful due to it’s selenium content. Nevada Indian tribes used the plant to treat sexually-transmitted diseases and to enhance the immune system and Hopi women drank a tea of the whole Indian paintbrush to “Dry up the menstrual flow.”