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The Indian Paintbrush | A Legend Retold and a Legendary Man

Pink flora

The Indian Paintbrush is an unusual flower, abundant in our longhorn cattle pastures this time of the year.  As we are in unusual times, our focus on Texas longhorn cattle is sidetracked as we focus our attention on The Indian Paintbrush flower  the subject of this month’s blog (see our other posts for more on wildflowers)

Photo Credit: J. Burk


The man is Tomie dePaolo (09/15/1934 -03/30/2020), He published close to 300 Children’s picture books one of which is The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. This book is one of the first I picked out for Alex when we arrived in Texas almost 20 years ago. Back then, in the dark ages, internet had not yet illuminated cyberspace and picture books were everything. We read this particular book often.

Scroll down to the end for a link to The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

In those years when we browsed over the illustrations, we had not seen a real Indian Paintbrush flower or at least we had not recognized them if we had. de Paolo’s book was our reference, his words and pictures a memorable landscape.



The Story itself is unforgettable. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush is a legend retold of a boy’s eagerness to paint the sunset in colors that would reflect its true beauty and this boy’s relentless yearning to find those blazing colors.




But, even more enchanting is dePaolo’s note at the end of the book of how meaningful this story was to him personally, as a painter and a story teller, finding the right colors and the right words for his own creations.



When you have the opportunity to see these wild flowers in their natural surroundings, there is no doubt that their unique beauty could inspire legends.  My sister, Lauren Albrice, lives in British Columbia, Canada and feels the same way. Indian paintbrushes grow in abundance there too and she makes a point of including them in her murals every opportunity she gets.

To see the full mural click on the photo above. It’s one of many commissioned murals painted by my talented sister in British Columbia, Canada. Each child participates by painting something in the mural. In this one, each tree was painted by a child. Back to Earth Designs, Lauren Albrice.

The Indian Paintbrush is also the the state flower of Wyoming. It does however, grow profusely in Texas and at Green Valley Ranch. Every spring, I make a point of setting time aside to admire their colors. When I walk through the pastures,  rouged with Indian Paintbrushes I think of how lucky I am to see our Texas longhorn cattle amongst these distinctive flowers.



We are not smelling the roses but still taking time to marvel small wonders.

This year in particular I count my blessing.

And of course, they always remind me of this beautiful picture book and its most talented author, may he rest in peace.

For your own Texas longhorn baby visit our SALEBARN

Scroll down on this link for The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, by Tomie dePaolo.

For more on the  Indian Paintbrush flower and other wildflowers of Texas –

Wild about Wildflowers 7 Texas wildflower facts 

How the Indian Blanket got its colors – 3 Legends covered

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaolo

Disclaimer: All material noted above is based on our hands- on experience as ranchers, as well as our observations of our own cattle over the years. We have done and continue to do extensive research in order to maintain our herd‘s optimum health. However, all opinions and statements made on our website are meant as guidelines only. We are not qualified statisticians/ veterinarians and urge you to consult a specialist with your concerns. Content of this blog belongs to GVR Longhorns LLC and may not be copied in any form. ©GVRlonghorns.com All rights reserved.

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