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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Coville Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja covilleana

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3G4
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 2

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
This species is known in Montana, primarily from the West Fork of the Bitterroot River on the Bitterroot National Forest. 5 occurrences are known from historical collections or have unknown status. A few occurrences contain minor amounts of spotted knapweed and others occur in habitats that are susceptible to invasion by knapweed and other invasive species. Timber harvest activities may also pose a threat to some populations.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Coville Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja covilleana) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 11/01/2012
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score1-2 - Small to Moderate. Population size is imprecisely known but is believed to be >2,000 individuals and <100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score2 - Regional or State Endemic or Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <100,000 sq. miles (equivalent to 2/3 the size of Montana or less) or Montana contributes 50% or more of the species’ range or populations OR limited to 2-3 Sub-basins in Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally occurring in 11-25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    Score0-1 - Stable to Minor Declines:

    CommentTrends unknown, though populations are likely stable or experiencing only minor declines.


    Score1-2 - Medium to High.

    Commentinvasive weeds are impacting some of the species' habitat.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score1 - Moderate Vulnerability: Specific biological attributes, unusual life history characteristics or limited reproductive potential makes the species susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 7 to 10 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Coville Indian Paintbrush is a perennial with clusters of several unbranched, erect or ascending stems, which can be up to 30 cm tall. All leaves but the lowermost are deeply divided into 3-7 spreading, linear lobes, and are alternate on the stem. The herbage is covered with long, soft hairs. The inflorescence is usually bright red or scarlet, but may be orangish-yellow; it is short and compact at first, but elongates greatly at maturity. The colored flower bracts are deeply 5-7 parted and at least as long as the flowers. The corolla is 20-35 mm long, and the hooded upper lip is 1/2-2/3 the length of the tubular portion. The calyx is 15-25 mm long and more deeply divided above than below.

Flowering late June-early August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This species can be distinguished from other red paintbrushes in its range by the covering of long, soft hairs (rather than stiff and straight), and by the middle leaf segments that are almost as narrow as the lateral segments.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Central ID and adjacent southwest MT. Regional endemic.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 161

(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)

Stony soil of slopes and summits in the montane and subalpine zones.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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Citation for data on this website:
Coville Indian Paintbrush — Castilleja covilleana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from