Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Deer Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja cervina

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SH
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from 3 widely separated collections in western Montana, including a 1901 collection in Missoula County near "Sunset Hill", a 1960 collection near Deer Lodge and an 1894 collection near Columbia Falls.
General Description
Deer Indian Paintbrush is a perennial, hemiparasitic herb with clustered, erect, branched stems that are 3-6 dm high and which arise from a branched rootcrown. The lower leaves are linear and entire-margined, while the upper leaves have a pair of spreading lobes. Foliage is glabrous or has minute, curled hairs. Flowers are borne in a spike at the top of the stems. Each flower is subtended by a 3-5-lobed leaf-like bract, which is broader than the leaves with yellowish tips. The yellow, tubular corolla, 18-25 mm long, tapers to a short hood, or galea, above and to 3 small lobes below. The tubular calyx, 15-20 mm long, surrounds the corolla and is cleft more deeply below than above; each of the lateral lobes divide again into 2 pointed lobes which are 2-3 mm long. The fruit is a capsule with many tiny seeds.

Flowering and fruiting in July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
There are many species of yellow-colored Castilleja in our area. Castilleja pallescens and C. cusickii have glandular hairs on the galea, but C. cervina does not. C. rustica and C. lutescens have a calyces that are divided equally above and below. C. flava has foliage with longer, straight hairs.

Species Range

Range Comments
Southern BC, adjacent northern ID and WA and northwest MT. Regional endemic.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 6

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Grasslands and open coniferous forests in the valley and lower montane zones.

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus appositus, Bombus bifarius, Bombus fervidus, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus melanopygus, Bombus sylvicola, Bombus occidentalis, and Bombus kirbiellus (Macior 1974, Thorp et al. 1983, Bauer 1983, Mayer et al. 2000, Wilson et al. 2010, Pyke et al. 2012, Koch et al. 2012, Miller-Struttmann and Galen 2014, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Bauer, P.J. 1983. Bumblebee pollination relationships on the Beartooth Plateau tundra of Southern Montana. American Journal of Botany. 70(1): 134-144.
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Macior, L.M. 1974. Pollination ecology of the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Melanderia 15: 1-59.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Miller-Struttmann, N.E. and C. Galen. 2014. High-altitude multi-taskers: bumble bee food plant use broadens along an altitudinal productivity gradient. Oecologia 176:1033-1045.
    • Pyke, G.H., D.W. Inouye, and J.D. Thomson. 2012. Local geographic distributions of bumble bees near Crested Butte, Colorado: competition and community structure revisited. Environmental Entomology 41(6): 1332-1349.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press.
    • Wilson, J.S., L.E. Wilson, L.D. Loftis, and T. Griswold. 2010. The montane bee fauna of north central Washington, USA, with floral associations. Western North American Naturalist 70(2): 198-207.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Deer Indian Paintbrush"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Deer Indian Paintbrush — Castilleja cervina.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from