Castilleja, si usted por favor
I've noticed some of you have been posting about getting ready for "next years" lep plants. So I thought I'd toss a plant genus out here I don't believe I've seen get much attention on the forum, Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush and Prairie Fire are some of the common names).
They are native everywhere in North America, so could be a great new addition to any home garden. Some species of Castilleja are perennial herbs, some annual herbs - some species of both are hemiparasitic, some are not. Hemiparasitic means that they derive some of their nutrients from the roots of a host plant species, often grasses, but also other specific plants, and they will not generally do well without their host. The bract color can range widely through the reds, hot pinks, salmons, oranges, yellows, purples and whites. So they are all attractive plants for a garden, they don't get large or rambunctious or take over an area. Takes a little extra doing to be successful with those that are hemiparasitic, but they are still doable and worth the little extra effort. I've done some species from all four categories successfully in years past. But living along the wests Rocky Mountain slopes, high plateaus and deserts I mostly did perennial hemiparasitic species for the added benefit of their hosts. So I put rock screes in for them and their associated host plants in my gardens. My favorite was always Castilleja chromosa, a hemiparasitic species, simply because it is native everyplace west of the plains and I collected wild ovum and larvae of several species of leps on this species every year for decades. And I liked having the Artemisia dracunculus, filifolia or tridentata as their hosts in my garden too because they too are all also the main LFP's for many other lep species I commonly reared (and I had many other personal culinary and medicinal uses for them as well).
Lep wise probably the most eagerly sought to attract females for ovum and larvae would be the Arctiidae (Grammia nevadensis and olthona especially), and the many Nymphalidae that will use them as larval host plants - Euphydryas, Chlosyne (Thessalia, Charidryas), Precis (Junonia), etc. But they are also LFP's for many Geometridae, Noctuidae and Tortricidae. They and many of their host plants also attract many other species of leps as a nectar source. Hummingbirds and Sphingids are also attracted to Castilleja and are the key pollinators of some species.
Anyway, just a thought if you want to try something new that may attract new lep species to your gardens.
C. chromosa associated with Artemisia dracunculus
C. chromosa associated with Artemisia filafolia