CPC Plant Profile: Tall Indian-paintbrush
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Plant Profile

Tall Indian-paintbrush (Castilleja elongata)

Castilleja elongata (seen flowering in the center of the photo) is found in the rocky, grassy areas oak chaparral habitat. Photo Credit: Kathy Rice
Description
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Orobanchaceae
  • State: TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 159512
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

The Chisos paintbrush is known only from the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, Texas (USFWS 1998). It is reportedly hemiparisitic, obtaining water and nutrients from host plants by forming haustorial connections with the roots of nearby grasses and other plants (Heckard 1962, Mills and Kummerow 1982, Baird and Riopel 1985, Crank 1990, Matthies 1997). It is found among Quercus incana chaparral near a hiking trail in the Chisos Mountains (USFWS 1998). C. elongata may be adapted to fire, as plants were observed growing in recently burned areas. C. elongata plants are herbaceous perennials with linear gray-green leaves. Floral bracts and calyces are a bright red-orange in color, making an extremely attractive display when plants are blooming. Seeds are produced by both self- and cross-pollination and are borne in capsules with small holes at the top. In 1992, the species was taxonomically submerged in the far more widespread C. integra (Nesom, G.L., A new species of Castilleja (Scrophulariaceae) from south central Texas, with comments on other Texas taxa. Phytologia 72:3).

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Updates
  • 10/02/2020
  • Seed Collection

Plants have been surveyed and/or seeds have been collected almost every year since 1994.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Propagation Research

Periodic germination testing and production of seeds in cultivation produces sufficient seed to maintain seedbank integrity for this species.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

A sufficient number of seeds are banked at Desert Botanical Garden to be able to conduct an effective augmentation if it becomes necessary.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the mountains of Brewster County, Texas. About 10 occurrences are recorded, all but 2 in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park. Numbers of individuals fluctuate dramatically year to year in response to rainfall. Trail maintenance has destroyed a few individuals.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Threats to this taxon are all related to the impact of human accessibility to the remote areas of the Chisos. Construction of a hiking trail through the most dense portion of the Castilleja elongata population has brought about damage due to trampling an

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

One population is known from Big Bend National Park, with two sub-populations, all of which are located within an area having a radius of about two miles. Numbers of individuals are generally under 100.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Plants are being annually attended to in some manner. Plants have been surveyed and/or seeds have been collected almost every year since 1994.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Further investigation into taxonomic distinctness is needed. Exploration into the impact of fire on this taxon would be useful Moir 1980, 1982, 1987).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

A sufficient number of seeds are banked at Desert Botanical Garden to be able to conduct an effective augmentation if it becomes necessary. Periodic germination testing and production of seeds in cultivation produces sufficient seed to maintain seedbank integrity for this species.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Castilleja elongata
Authority Pennell
Family Orobanchaceae
CPC Number 812
ITIS 33112
USDA CAEL8
Common Names Chisos paintbrush | tall Indian-paintbrush | tall paintbrush
Associated Scientific Names Castilleja elongata | Castilleja integra var. integra A. Gray
Distribution Plants are distributed in several small patches with in a relatively limited area comprising the larger population which is localized in the Chisos mountains.
State Rank
State State Rank
Texas S2
Habitat

The habitat is located on the west side of the Chisos mountains in rocky, grassy areas in oak chaparral. Historic fire suppression may play a role in limiting reproduction of this taxon, as competing scrub oak becomes increasingly thicker in terms of percent canopy cover (Moir 1982).

Ecological Relationships

Plants are hemi-parasitic, with possible host plants including Bouteloua curtipendula, Cercocarpus montanus, Ceaonothus greggii, and Quercus spp. (Heckard 1962, Mills and Kummerow 1982, Baird and Riopel 1985, Crank 1990, Matthies 1997). Plants are not visible through much of the year, blending in with associated vegetation, and are readily apparent only when in flower or fruit.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
Swallowtails Papilio machaon bairdii Floral Visitor Link
Swallowtails Papilio polyxenes Floral Visitor Link
Birds
Hummingbirds Hummingbirds Confirmed Pollinator Link
Hummingbirds Hummingbirds Confirmed Pollinator Link
Hummingbirds Hummingbirds Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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