There isn’t a more stunning bright and vivid flower out there like the Indian Paintbrush. It is for this reason that it was selected to be the official Wyoming State Flower back in January the thirty first of nineteen hundred and seventeen. Indian Paintbrush has several different known names, such as Prairie Fire or Painted Cup. Its botanist name Castilleja Linariaefolia does not bring justice to the splendor of delightful color and refined beauty. A feature about this Wyoming State Flower is that the top looks like a large paintbrush that has been dipped in a vibrant red paint.
The real flowers of the Indian Paintbrush are hidden as most people recognize the flower being the bright red bracts that are easily seen. This flower has a larger group of stems that grow from the ground to be as tall as sixty centimeters. Being a member of the figwort family, the Indian Paintbrush is a perennial. The leaves are pointed, very narrow and long. Towards the top of the flower some of the leaves become almost hairy and have three lobes. There is also a fruit sort of capsule that the plant grows it is filled with many seeds. The plant also is somewhat of a parasite, as it is attached to other plants through their roots and feeds off the other plants nutrients and water.
You can purchase seeds to Indian Paintbrush and grow it in your own yard, but they must be sown only in the fall. They have a variety of colors from red, yellow, and orange to a cream or white. And they bloom from April to September. Since they are a semi-parasitic, remember to put it in the ground directly around or very near another plant. The Indian Paintbrush can be very difficult to grow for this exact reason. Another thing to watch out for is that transplanting the Wyoming State Flower is complicated and may kill your plant.
The Indian Paintbrush has many uses. The flower has been used to make Dyes. They are edible plants as well and many American Indian tribes used to consume them with other fresh greens. Be careful when eating the beautiful flowers as they extract toxins out of the soil. Make sure that you only consume small amounts of their leaves as it could also poison you. Others uses of the Indian Paintbrush is that Tribes use to wash their hair with the flower as it made their hair fuller and glossy. It was also used as an herb to try and cure things like rheumatism, venereal diseases, or just to boost the immune system.
The Wyoming State Flower also has an Indian legend concerning how the flowers became so bright. It’s a beautiful tale about the Great Spirit giving a young brave paint brushes with the colors so he could paint the brilliance of the sun. When he finished, he had left the brushed across the field. The rich culture and history surrounding the Wyoming State Flower, no wonder the Indian Paintbrush became the official flower.