Genus of the Month
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the
Conservation New England web site, entitled
"The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".
This month's genus:
image above © 1999-2000 www.arttoday.com
Family: Scrophulariaceae (occasionally placed in the Orobanchaceae)
Number of Species: about 200
Root: Named for the Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo (Ref)
The genus Castilleja is semi-parasitic; individual plants can tap into the roots of their neighbors if they need a nutrient fix. Species in this genus are frequently grown for ornamental purposes. Their spectacular floral displays are enhanced by brightly colored bracts and bracteoles, which are not petals but are in fact modified leaves.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Castilleja species:
- If you've got some spare time, the CalPhotos database will serve up 380 photos of various Castilleja species.
- Read about the history and background that led to C. levisecta (Golden Paintbrush) being named as a federally threatened species in 1997. This is the actual document from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- To learn more about the putative spiritual essence of Indian Paintbrush (C. affinis), visit The Medicine Garden (note: this page is a hoot, and this link does not imply that I suggest or support consumption of this or any other herbal product)
- Tomie de Paola has created a beautiful children's book from the Texan
Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. (The link goes to the amazon.com page for the book.)
(Thanks to E.L. Painter for the suggestion!)
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
Current Genus of the Week
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