Castilleja exserta (formerly Orthocarpus purpurascens) is a species of plant in the genus Castilleja which includes the Indian paintbrushes. Its common names include purple owl's clover, escobita, and exserted Indian paintbrush.

This species is native to the Southwestern United States in various habitats of California, Arizona, and New Mexico; and to Northwestern Mexico. It is an introduced species in Hawaii.

Castilleja exserta is an annual herb about 100–450 millimeters (4–18 in) tall with a hairy stem covered in thready leaves. Like other related Castilleja plants, this is a hemiparasite that derives some of its nutrients directly from the roots of other plants by injecting them with haustoria. This is the reason for its small, reduced leaves.

Although this species is variable in appearance and easily hybridizes with other Castilleja species, it generally bears a brightly colored inflorescence of shaggy pink-purple or lavender flowers. The thin, erect bracts are usually tipped with the same color, giving the inflorescence the appearance of a paintbrush.

The seeds were harvested by indigenous peoples of California, for food.

Observations Map

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