Wyoming's Flower Power | Big Horn Basin Media

Wyoming’s Flower Power

Written by on July 8, 2021

Wyoming’s State Flower: Castilleja

Commonly known as Indian paintbrush

Just this last weekend I went on a few small road trips around the Big Horn Basin. From Cody I went to the park entrance as well as the beautiful drive of  The Chief Joseph pass.  No matter where you looked you were almost guaranteed to see Wyoming’s very own state flower. They were everywhere and shined in so many different colors. After seeing them I had to find out more.

Did you know that it is illegal to pick them? If you didn’t now you do. So don’t do that ever. They also can not survive without a host plant. So basically they have to be rooted next to a happy healthy planet, so it can latch onto them and suck all their nutrients out so they can survive. Yep it kills its neighbor so it can keep on growing.

According to Wikipedia the flower has had a very interesting past of what it was used for.

“The flowers of Indian paintbrush are edible, and were consumed in moderation by various Native American tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. These plants have a tendency to absorb and concentrate selenium in their tissues from the soils in which they grow, and can be potentially very toxic if the roots or green parts of the plant are consumed. Highly alkaline soils increase the selenium levels in the plants. Indian paintbrush has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation. The Ojibew used a hair wash made from Indian paintbrush to make their hair glossy and full bodied, and as a treatment for rheumatism. The high selenium content of this plant has been cited as the reason for its effectiveness for these purposes.” Rumor has it it was also used to cure STD’s. Eeek. It has very much proven it can help. heal, and survive.

Then in 1917 it became Wyoming State Flower!


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