Hotrock Penstemon
Penstemon deustus Dougl. ex Lindl.
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Penstemon
Other names: scabland beardtongue
Nomenclature: deustus = burned up
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Medicinal plant
No edibility data

General: perennial, 20-60 cm tall, woody toward the much-branched base, the stems of the season mostly simple and erect. Plants usually glandular among the flowers, at least on the corollas, otherwise hairless to finely short-hairy or somewhat glandular.

Leaves: basal and opposite, sharply toothed to almost entire, those on the short, sterile shoots oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic and short-stalked, those on the flowering stems often stalkless and broadly lanceolate, often broad-based, up to 6 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.

Flowers: several in loose whorls or scattered. Calyx 2.5-6 mm long, the segments lanceolate to narrowly ovate, sometimes narrowly membranous-edged but entire. Corolla dull whitish to faintly ochroleucous with few purplish guide lines within, or washed with lavender, 8-20 mm long, the tube narrow or more expanded below. Pollen sacs 0.5-0.9 mm long, hairless, opening throughout, becoming more or less spreading and often opposite. Staminode hairless or bearded, scarcely, or not at all, expanded toward the tip. May-July.

Fruits: capsules, 3-5 mm long, seeds about 1 mm long.


Dry, open, often rocky places, foothills to moderate or occasionally high elevations in the mountains, in s.w. and s.c. parts of MT. Also in c. WA, n. WY to CA, NV, UT.
Medicinal Uses

Hotrock Penstemon was used by several native tribes for medicinal purposes. The Oregon Paiutes and the Shoshoni used a poultice of mashed, fresh leaves applied to boils, mosquito bites, tick bites and open sores, and a poultice of green leaves or leaf powder was applied to swellings, chapped and cracked skin, and for various skin problems in general. They made a decoction of the plant used as an eyewash, and also taken for stomachaches, especially children's. The Shoshoni Indians also made decoction of plants used as a hot bath for sore feet and swollen legs and veins, it was also taken for colds and rheumatic aches, and was dropped into the ear for ear infections. The powdered root was used for sores. They made a compound infusion of the plant used as a wash for gonorrheal sores, and the plant was used in various ways both internally and externally for venereal disease, for example the juice of mashed, raw leaves was used as a wash for such purposes.

Sub taxa:

Our specimen belong to var. deustus Dougl. ex Lindl.

Advertising Disclosure: Montana Plant Life may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or visitors clicking on links posted on this website.
Copyright ©