Castilleja nana grows in dry, rocky alpine habitat. From the Sierra Nevada range east through Nevada with a toe hold in western Utah. You find it growing at elevations of 6500'-12000' (2000-3700m) It stands about 6"-10" (15-25cm) tall.
A couple of my photos.
John, do you grow this one? It's a fine looking small species. I checked out the links, and looked through a variety of color forms shown on CalPhotos, here are some more selected links.
The high elevation species usually bloom in August through September and I never seem to get up to their elevation in October when the seed needs to be gathered but I keep an eye out for it. It's on may list.
Another really nice paintbrush! The CalPhoto pix show quite a range of colours, too. Identifying Castilleja in your area must be quite a challenge with all those species... (I find it baffling enough here with only 10 or so species and hybrids!)
I find it to be a challenge no matter what I'm trying to ID. I found that the simplest way to ID a plant is to buddy up with a Botanist that knows the area. Now if you get two of them together it's best to wait until they hash things over and reach a conscience. ;)
Ha, great idea! Now what reasonably willing and quick-footed botanist could I drag out on hikes with us?
And, yes, your last observation applies equally well to expert geologists!
Well, one is enough even if he isn't a botanist either. I often can't agree with myself ;D
PS. I have just started gathering paintbrushes. Still waiting for the first flowers but I hope next summer. . . .
Can't forget the first paintbrush I ever saw - in a short-grass savannah-like meadow high up in Ecuador in October 2000! (Sorry, only oldfashioned slides)