Montana Outdoors

May 28, 2008

Spring paintbrush

Monday on a trip to see if the snow had cleared off the road enough to get to the trailhead leading into the Cherry Peak roadless area (it has!), I was surprised to see the Indian Paintbrushes blooming already, especially at that altitude.

The full rich color of these particular flowers is because they have blossomed during a fairly long cloudy spell, which has kept the sun’s radiation which is especially strong at that relatively high elevation from fading them.

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata.

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Paintbrush at Mountain Nature ,com

Paintbrush at USDA Plants


  1. How interesting. I just saw Indian Paintbrush too, but the ones found near Lake Michigan’s shores are bright orange. Both are beautiful though, one of my favorites.


    Comment by Bo — May 28, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

  2. We don’t have the orange. I bet that’s really pretty! We do have yellow though and some pink. It’s another flower that was one of my childhood favorites.


    Comment by montucky — May 28, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  3. utterly delightful! 🙂


    Comment by Sumedh — May 28, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  4. Very nice indeed. I wish my camera would do better at capturing the reds. *Reminder to self…get a new camera. 😀


    Comment by Tabbie — May 28, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

  5. Oh, gorgeous! I love that shade of red. They must look gorgeous in the woods.


    Comment by Sara — May 28, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

  6. Sumedh,

    They certainly are a bright spot. There are not a lot of red wildflowers here and so these really stand out.


    Comment by montucky — May 28, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  7. Tabbie,

    I’m not an expert on the subject, but I think the key to good color for flower photos is in the exposure. My camera gives me the ability to choose a very small area for the auto-exposure and further the option of altering that + or -. That way the camera will adjust for the light exactly on the flower and ignore the general light conditions around it, giving the shot the true color of the object. The color in these photos turned out exactly the way it appeared to my eye.


    Comment by montucky — May 28, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  8. Sara,

    They do look gorgeous and these particularly stood out as very bright spots. This shade of red goes extremely well with the colors of the evergreens and spring grasses! Later, after some time in full sun at this relatively high altitude where the air is thinner and doesn’t screen out as much of the sun’s radiation, the color will fade into a much lighter shade of red.


    Comment by montucky — May 28, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  9. Boy those are really beautiful. Great shots! I’ve ran into so many more this year than last. They were sporadic at best last year but this year they are just about everywhere. Really gorgeous I’m glad to see that everywhere includes by you too!!


    Comment by aullori — May 29, 2008 @ 1:26 am

  10. Another of my favorites – I don’t see it around my property…usually Big Mountain – the Danny On trail…Thanks for a great look Montucky!


    Comment by Ann from Montana — May 29, 2008 @ 6:58 am

  11. Lori,

    These are the first I’ve seen here. Once again we’re way behind you in the blooming season. I’ll bet it will be a good year for them though once they get started.


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 7:48 am

  12. Ann,

    It’s one of my favorites too. I’m looking forward to them really getting started, but it may be a couple of weeks here. It’s a strange year!


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  13. What a rich red. Lovely plant.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — May 29, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  14. paint brushes look great scattered amongst a field of bluebonnets. all ours are gone til next year. they are only around during March/April…too hot otherwise!


    Comment by silken — May 29, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  15. These flowers are beautiful and, you know I’ve mentioned this before, I am always envious of all of you that have Indian Paintbrush that still blooms in your area! It has vanished long ago in my area.


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — May 29, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  16. Scienceguy,

    These are really visible when there is a bunch of them together. You can see them at a great distance.


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  17. Silken,

    Interesting, isn’t it that your have been gone for a month and our are just beginning. You can keep that heat down there though!


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  18. Janet,

    It’s sad to know that they have vanished and the children there will never see them in that habitat.


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  19. One of my very favorite wildflowers. Look at all the little hairs you captured. Great pictures. Probably the only way I will see it this year.


    Comment by nouveaufauves — May 29, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  20. So many people love this flower! It caught my attention and imagination over 60 years ago and I still love it!


    Comment by montucky — May 29, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: