Castilleja rhexiifolia Rydb.
Castilleja lauta A. Nelson
Castilleja leonardii Rydb.
Castilleja oregonensis Gandog.
Splitleaf Indian Paintbrush, Rosy Indian-paintbrush, Rhexia-leaved Paintbrush, Alpine Paintbrush
Castilleja rhexiifolia is one of the 200 or so species in this genus, and a North American native. It used to be called Castilleja rhexifolia (only one “i” after the “x”). Considering that “rhexiifolia,” however you spell it, is a made up Latin word meaning “has leaves like deer grass,” one might argue that quibbling over the proper spelling is an example of misdirected energy, as this article from the Native Plants Journal ponders. Any step that improves nomenclatural uniformity is okay with me though.
Identification: Plants occur in small clusters, with unbranched purplish or red stems. Leaves are broadly lanceolate (lance-shaped), and entire (unlobed). The most noticeable feature of this paintbrush is the color of its flowers—a pink/purple hue rather than the more common strong red or red-orange colors of many other Castillejas. In addition to purple-magenta, pink-white, pink-magenta and crimson also occur. The colorful flowers are actually bracts—modified leaves—which largely enclose greenish flowers. These plants are found in alpine and subalpine locations.
Castilleja rhexiifolia at Mark Egger’s Castilleja site on Flickr
Castilleja rhexiifolia on www.ipmimages.org
Castilleja rhexiifolia on Discover Life
Castilleja rhexiifolia on CalPhotos
Castilleja rhexiifolia on the USDA Plants Database
Castilleja rhexiifolia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (uncommon reddish form)
Castilleja rhexiifolia on 188.8.131.52
Castilleja rhexiifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 2 Jan 2019.