The wildflowers we see coloring the fields from Spring through July are sometimes called 'Indian Paintbrush' or 'prairie-fire.' Aptly named, the orange-red blooms can appear like a swath of flames across a grassland. There are roughly 200 species in the genus Castilleja, and they're found everywhere from the Americas to northern Asia and western Russia.
The Castilleja indivisa species shown above usually blooms annually in the spring and sometimes beyond.
These bright wildflowers make a beautiful contrast to their surroundings including the grasses that share the field with them — and they need that grass to survive. Prairie-fire plants attach themselves to the roots of other plants and obtain part of their nutrients in a process called hemiparasitism.
Indian Paintbrush is an important source of nectar for humminbirds and insects, including butterflies and bees.