Also known as Red Paintbrush
Red Paintbrush grows in open woods and meadows, thickets, grassy slopes, tidal marshes, gravel bars, roadsides: at low to high elevations. The leaves are lance-shaped and attach at intervals along each stem. The greenish flower are concealed by the very showy bright-red to scarlet bracts (modified leaves).
The genus name Castilleja refers to Don Domingo Castillejo, an 18th Century botanist. The species name miniate has nothing to do with size; instead it is a reference to the scarlet red color "minium". These plants are called paintbrushes because of the colorful showy leaves around the flowers, resemble a brush dipped in paint.
There is frequent hybridization amongst paintbrushes, especially this genus. Paintbrushes are root-parasites meaning they tap into the roots of other plants and get a boost by stealing water and other essential minerals from the host plant. There is more to the pretty paintbrush than meets the eye!