Castilleja coccinea or
Indian Scarlet Paintbrush
According to the “Easy Wildflowers” website, “The inconspicuous flowers bloom within a dense cluster of beautiful leafy bracts that are brilliant shades of orange, red, or sometimes yellow. Wild Indian Paintbrush flowers grow in a variety of conditions including moist and well-drained, dry, or sandy prairies that are moist in the spring. The plant prefers full sun or light shade.”
Indian paintbrush is partially parasitic. The roots of the plant grow down in the soil until they meet other roots, often grasses. They receive part of their nourishment from these associations. As a result, this plant is not easy to transplant and is better to start from seeds. Common in prairies out west, this plant will also grow in open, moist woodlands here on the east coast.
These photos were taken along a travertine stream in Shawsville, VA.