Castilleja cinerea

Common Names:
Ash Grey Indian Paintbrush
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Naomi Fraga
Available for Sponsorship

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

The conservation of Castilleja cinerea is not currently sponsored.
Naomi Fraga contributed to this Plant Profile.


Castilleja cinerea (ash-gray paintbrush) is a hemiparasitic perennial herb in the broomrape family (Orobanchaceae) that flowers from June to July (Hickman 1993). This species has a highly variable inflorescence color; the flower bracts range in color from yellow to red. Castilleja cinerea was listed as threatened by the federal government in 1998.
Castilleja cinerea occurs in a unique habitat called pebble plains (also known as pavement plains). Pebble plain habitat is of limited distribution (occurring only in the San Bernardino Mountains) and supports a biologically rich but highly threatened plant community that consists of small cushion forming plants, minute annuals, grasses, and succulents. Pebble plains are open treeless areas that consist of clay soil (up to 53%) mixed with a pavement of quartzite pebbles and gravel that are pushed to the surface through frost action (USDA FS 2007a). The combination of clay soil, frost heaving, extreme temperature fluctuations, high light intensity, and desiccating winds is thought to prevent the establishment of tree species on pebble plains (USDA FS 2007b).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research