Thursday, 11 July 2013

Indian Paintbrush

As I mentioned my blog from earlier this week was far from comprehensive of all the wildflowers that are in the woods, marshes, fields and ditches right now! It is a BEAUTIFUL time of the year in northern Alberta.

One of my favorite wildflowers is 'Indian Paintbrush'.

Indian Paintbrush comes in a multitude of colours, but around us is always pink.

There are a couple legends associated with this wildflower, which I think makes them even more charming!

The first is attributed to Mable Burkholder's book "Before the White Man Came"

Once upon a time a Blackfoot maiden fell in love with a wounded prisoner she was tending. The maiden realized that the tribe was only nursing him in order to torture him later. She planned an escape for her love and accompanied him for fear of punishment for her part in the escape. 
After some time in her lover's camp she grew homesick for a glimpse of her old camp. She finally went to the camp and hid in the bushes where she over heard two young braves discussing what would happen to the maiden that betrayed her tribe, if only they could find her. 

Longing to return, but knowing she never could she took a piece of bark, gashed her leg with a stick, and drew on the bark a map of the camp in her own blood.

After drawing the picture the maiden tossed the stick away and returned to her lover. 

Where the stick landed a little plant grew with a brush like head end, dyed with the blood of the girl, which became the first Indian Paintbrush. 

A bit cheerier legend goes like this -

Native American legend says a young brave once tried to paint the sunset with his warpaints. Frustrated he could not match the brilliance of nature, he asked guidance from the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit granted him paintbrushes laden with the colours he had wished for! With these, he painted his masterpiece, leaving the spent brushes in the fields across the landscape. The brushes sprouted in the first Indian Paintbrushes! 


obiewanone50 said...

We have a variety of colors in the Eagle Caps. Mostly shades of red and have found pink recently in the high parts of the southern part. Thank you for the legends!

The Dancing Donkey said...

Interesting stories and it is also interesting to me how many different varieties of wildflowers are called Indian paintbrush. those are very different from we in NY call them and both are different from what I saw in CA.

AK Michele RN said...

Such a beautiful flower...