On September 25th I was driving toward Durango, Colorado, on US 550 north of Bernalillo, New Mexico, when a spike of bright red by the side of the road loomed into and then out of my view. I slowed down, turned around, and went back to check out what it was (and to take photographs, of course). Thanks to George Miller of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, I’m pretty sure it was Castilleja linariifolia, one of many paintbrush species in the United States. The plant whose flowers provided the bright yellow background was chamisa, which I’ll focus on (literally and figuratively) next time.
To learn more about paintbrushes in general and this species in particular you can read an informative article at Southwest Colorado Wildflowers. One thing I found out there is that the genus Castilleja has been moved from the family Scrophulariaceae to the broader Orobranchaceae.
© 2014 Steven Schwartzman