The Q&A Archives: Indian Paintbrush

Question: Can I harvest seeds from my wild Indian Paintbrush? I do not know which variety, but is native to the Rogue Valley area of Southern Oregon. It grows in some low mountain areas around our home... and in rocks on the banks of the Rogue River. I love this flower, and have about 5 small bunches on my property. I want to have them spread... and they haven't in 8 years of living here. Can I harvest seeds from this small lot (and how) and plant to increase the number of Indian Paintbrush on my property?

Answer: Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja sp.) is a member of the figwort family. It's a perennial, with long, narrow, pointed leaves. The flowers, set in clusters, are long and tube-like, pale green to red on the ends and hidden by brilliant red, hairy, toothed bracts. The flowers produce many seeds which are contained in the fruit capsules. Seeds can be harvested when the capsules turn from green to tan in color. Sow the seeds immediately after collecting by scattering them on the soil, or store them in a cool, dark place for sowing the following spring. Seeds should germinate readily, especially if the soil is kept moist.

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