The Paintbrush evoked the Native American legend of a young brave who tried to paint the sunset with his warpaints. Frustrated that he could not match the brilliance of nature, he ask for guidance from the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit gave him paintbrushes laden with the colors he so desired. With these, he painted his masterpiece and left the spent brushes in fields across the landscape.
I enjoyed the 52 WEEKS::Totem Animals project that I completed in 2013 for learning, growth and expanding my creative muscles so much that I decided to create another, though this time my focus is on native wildflowers and their medicinal and historical properties. I'm afraid I missed the first Monday of the year, but will begin now.
When I was growing up a friend pointed out this plant and called it Indian Paintbrush or prairie-fire which evoked such beautiful images for me. I had only seen the red paintbrush until a few years ago when I saw pink and white varieties but the red is still one of my favorites.
It's generic name is Castilleja, named after Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo, and flowers are known to have the same health benefits as garlic if eaten in small amounts and in moderation (the roots and greens are toxic). It was more commonly used to make hair more glossy and full bodied and also to treat rheumatism.