Connecticut Plants
Painted Cup (Indian Paintbrush)
Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.

Painted cup is an annual or biennial that is parasitic on the roots of other plants. Painted cup is a threatened species in Connecticut.

  • Family: broomrape (Orobanchaceae)
  • Habitat: meadows and prairies with moist sandy soil
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • Flower size: actual flowers are small; the cluster of showy red bracts is around 1-1/2 inches across
  • Flower color: actual flowers yellow-green, surrounded by red bracts
  • Flowering time: May to July
  • Origin: native
Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.

The red-orange things that look like petals are bracts; the actual flowers are the pointed yellow-green structures emerging from the bracts.

Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.
Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.

Painted cup is rare in Connecticut, but it more common to the north and west. This is a roadside population in Ontario.