Botanical Name

Castilleja linariaefolia

Year Adopted


Peak Bloom

April to June


The University of Wyoming's Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard promoted the Indian Paintbrush of other candidates and ultimately drafted the legislation and found a sponsor for the bill.

Fun Fact

It is called the “Paintbrush” because the blooms on the beautiful flowering plant are so red they look as if they were freshly painted!

Wyoming state flower - The Indian Paintbrush

The gorgeous Indian Paintbrush actually met tough opposition in its initial debate to become Wyoming’s official state flower. In polls of Wyoming school children, the Indian Paintbrush proved to be a favorite. Leading botanist Dr. Aven Nelson of the University of Wyoming objected to the adoption of the Indian Paintbrush because it was uncommon and had too many varietals. The Indian Paintbrush prevailed nonetheless and was adopted in 1917.

Found throughout most of British Columbia, the flower is a member of the Figwort family, a perennial boasting a cluster of stems that grow upward from the base, up to 60 cm. tall. The top of the stem look as though they’ve been dipped in bright red paint, hence the name Indian Paintbrush. The “painted cups” of the Indian Paintbrush aren’t true flowers, but amazingly colored flowerlike-bracts.

The Indian Paintbrush is a semi-parasitic flower. It attaches to the tubes of host plants by their roots. Indian Paintbrushes suck the nutrients and water from the host plants. The plant is generally grown from seed, when sown directly in fall.

The flower is difficult to grow, as it must have a host plant associated with it. The leaves are long, narrow, and pointed, and the upper leaves have three hairy lobes. The leaves also have fruit capsules embedded with lots of seeds. Dyes have actually been made from this part of the Indian Paintbrush plant.

Growing Information




Full Sun/Partial Shade


3 - 9