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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Annual Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja exilis
Other Names:  Castilleja minor ssp. minor

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5T5
State Rank: S2
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 2
C-value: 6

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Annual Indian Paintbrush is known from a half dozen counties in southwest Montana with the majority of documented locations on private lands. Many areas of suitable habitat have been converted to agricultural uses and/or are used for livestock grazing. Additionally, populations are susceptible to hydrologic changes and may negatively impacted by invasive weeds.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Annual Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja exilis) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date =
General Description
Annual Indian Paintbrush is an annual with erect, unbranched stems that are 3-8 dm high. The alternate, narrowly lance-shaped leaves, 3-8 cm long, have entire margins. Foliage is glandular-hairy. The stalkless flowers arise from the axils of the reduced upper leaves (bracts) in a spike-like inflorescence at the top of the stem. The upper bracts have red tips. The yellowish, tubular corolla, 15-25 mm long, tapers to a galea above that surpasses the 3 small lobes below. The tubular calyx, 15-20 mm long, almost completely contains the corolla and is cleft into 4 pointed lobes. The fruit is a capsule with many tiny seeds.

Flowering in July-August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This is our only annual Castilleja, also distinguished in the lack of lobes on the leaves and bracts. It can be distinguished from annual Orthocarpus and Cordylanthus by the galea that is appreciably longer than the lower corolla lip.

Species Range

Range Comments
WA to MT south to CA, AZ and NM (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 54

(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)

Moist alkaline meadows in the valley zone.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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