Native plant of the month: Pedicularis densiflora (Indian warrior)


This month, I want to share a native plant you can't buy in the store and probably can't grow in the suburban garden: Pedicularis densiflora (Indian warrior). Stunning in the spring, when there isn't much color out there, it looks outlandish and rare in the oak and manzanita forests of California. Pedicularis is a root parasite, though it can also grow without a host.
The photo above was made by Mr. Mouse, who went for a hike at Henry Coe State Park. I very much regretted not being able to go and pleaded for some pictures. And I got Pedicularis, and a manzanita in the wild...


...and a little squirrel hiding near the entrance gate.


Next time, I have to go along!

Comments

RainGardener said…
That is a pretty one. Love the squirrel too.
Gail said…
Hello! Is the manzanita a member of the Ericaceae family? The flowers look like heaths and blueberries? I love learning about native plants...even those thousands of miles from here! gail
donna said…
The Indian warrior is certainly worthy of being named "native plant of the month". I might learn something if I keep reading your blog and I have lots to learn. Thanks for visiting my simple blog...I always like it when "mouses" come visiting.
donna said…
Forgot to say. I also have Shirley Valentine as my favorite movie. Thought I'd be the only one in the world with that movie as a fav. Now I'll leave you alone for a while.
Town Mouse said…
Gail, yes, it is. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctostaphylos. Come visit some time.

Donna, it's Country Mouse with that favorite movie. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to hear she's not alone.
ryan said…
I think you can grow it for your garden, it's just a pain in the neck to get started. The germination is fairly involved and you need to grow it in the pot with a host. The Watershed Nursery sometimes sells a hemiparasitic castilleja, indian paintbrush. I've planted a couple from there and they have done fine. One of them should be blooming soon.
I confess I haven't ever seen indian warrior for sale...
Country Mouse said…
Hi Donna - I LOVE Shirley Valentine! For several years I lived in the Liverpool area of England and am very familiar with the whole way of life shown in the movie - isn't it wonderful! I don't think you are alone - some women, I hear, have parties where they get together and watch that movie (over and over and over!)
Nice to hear from another fan!
C. Mouse
Michelle said…
How fascinating, I didn't know that plant was parasitic! I've always called it Indian Paintbrush. I blooms in the park across the valley. Love it!
Town Mouse said…
Actually, Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja) is a different plant. It's more orange and blooms a bit later. Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castilleja
I used to confuse them myself.
AnneTanne said…
The Indian warrior is a plant that looks completely unknown and - indeed - very exotic to me. The manzanita doesn't grow here either, but at least it's flowers look familiar to me, they remind me of our native Vaccinium myrtillus.