There are more than two hundred varieties of Indian Paintbrush, most of them occurring in western North America. And they are very difficult to tell apart. They are often mistaken for figworts - because of their flowers, but they are semi parasidic - placing them in the broomrape family. One of the most common is the Wyoming Painted Cup - state flower of my home state. This, however, is not that. This species grows at higher elevations. Some researchers believe that the hummingbird and paintbrush may have evolved together. Hummingbirds need large amounts of very sweet nectar - although they have few taste buds and no sense of smell, they can see colors are are particularly attracted to red flowers. Paintbrush have no scent, but have ample sugary nectar to give hummingbirds the energy they need for breeding and migration.
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