CPC Plant Profile: Kaibab Indian-paintbrush
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Plant Profile

Kaibab Indian-paintbrush (Castilleja kaibabensis)

This plant flowers in early July. Photo Credit: Joyce Maschinski
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Orobanchaceae
  • State: AZ
  • Nature Serve ID: 149082
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

Kaibab Indian paintbrush is one of fourteen species of Castilleja that is found in Arizona (Lehr 1978). This particular species is a woody herbaceous perennial. Its hairy, lance-shaped leaves arise along hairy stems that grow to approximately 40 cm tall. Bracts are also hairy and flowers vary from yellow, orange, to red-orange. (Cronquist et al 1984) This species is very similar in appearance to C. integra and C. lineariaefolia, but differs because its bracts are divided with fairly acute-tipped lobes and the hairs on the stems have rounded tips and are not white. The leaves are also more appressed (Brian 2000).

Participating Institutions
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/18/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted the Arboretum at Flagstaff to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 10/27/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

CPC Funded the Arboretum at Flagstaff to complete a seed collection on USFS land in 2020 and they have a seed collection in their seed bank

  • 10/27/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

CPC Funded the Arboretum at Flagstaff to complete a seed collection on USFS land in 2020 - the back up seed lot resides at NLGRP

  • 10/27/2020
  • Seed Collection

CPC Funded the Arboretum at Flagstaff to complete a seed collection on USFS land in 2020

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known only from the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona. Occurs in an area of only about a dozen square miles (Reichenbacher 1986 cited by AGFD 1992). It was apparently fairly abundant within this area (AGFD 1992). Populations have decreased, and plants are now only known from three general areas (AGFD 2012). Herbarium specimens should be reviewed to assess trends in populations since new specimens have been collected since 2012.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Grazing poses the most significant threat to this species.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

This species is considered to have a stable population, with many hundreds of thousands of plants occurring in a 5 to 6 mile stretch. However, it is possible that these trends are not accurate, as another more common species, Castilleja integra, occurs in the same area and has a similar appearance. (Arizona Fish and Game Department 1999)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

The species is still considered before any potential adverse activities can take place on USFS lands.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

As more surveys were done for the species, more populations were found. It is still classified as a Forest Service Sensitive species, State rank S2 with very low risk.


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Taxon Castilleja kaibabensis
Authority N. Holmgren
Family Orobanchaceae
CPC Number 820
ITIS 501324
Common Names Kaibab Indian paintbrush | Kaibab Plateau Indian paintbrush | Kaibab paintbrush
Associated Scientific Names Castilleja kaibabensis
Distribution Endemic to Kaibab Plateau in the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (Cronquist et al. 1984).
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S1

Found in subalpine meadows surrounded by spruce-fir-aspen forests from 8,200 to 9,000 feet (2501 to 2745 meters) in elevation. Soils in the meadows where it is found are often fine silts, clays, or rocky, all of which are derived from weathered Kaibab limestone. These plants are often found on low, rounded ridgetops and small knolls, often in the driest, most exposed sites in open subalpine meadows. (Arizona Fish and Game Department 1999; Cronquist et al. 1984)

Ecological Relationships

As highlighted in the Plant abstract by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (1999): Flowers are pollinated by bumblebees and/or hummingbirds. Pollination ecology and seed dispersal mechanisms are not known. This species readily colonized sites that are disturbed, and as such is considered an early-to-mid successional species.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Hummingbirds Hummingbirds Confirmed Pollinator Link

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