Penstemon - Penstemons
Scrophulariaceae
Contents English Names Index
 
The penstemons are among the most beautiful of our flowers. Their five-petaled flowers have two paired stamens. There is always a fifth sterile stamen (a “staminode”) without an anther at its tip. It may be hairy and partially occlude the floral throat of the flower, hence the plants’ common name “beard-tongue”.
The flowers are born in whorls, known as “verticillasters ”. Most are blue, purple, or lavender, but pink, white and even red species also occur. The petals of the flowers are joined to a corolla, having an upper and a lower lip. The upper lip has 2 lobes and the lower lip has 3 lobes. The sepals are joined to a calyx which has 5 points, sometimes with extended, linear tips.
Some species are covered with small glandular hairs on flowers or stems, but leaves are most often hairless. The shape of the leaves is usually lance-shaped or elliptic, sometimes with small teeth on the edges. Stem leaves are opposite and stalkless, sometimes clasping the stem. The fruits are capsules containing many small seeds.
It’s said that the name “penstemon” was derived from the Greek “pente” meaning “five” for five stamens. There are over 250 species of penstemon; most are native to the American west.
 
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Penstemon
FLOWERS IN CONGESTED, WHORLED CLUSTERS, NOT GLANDULAR
P. nitidus - Wax-leaved or Shining Penstemon
Stems about 30 cm tall. Rocky or gravelly prairies at lower elevations.
Flowers blue, ~15 mm long, 10-20 crowded, with 1 yellow-hairy stamen inside.
Leaves elliptic, broad, thick, hairless with bluish cast. Upper leaves clasping.
P. procerus - Little-flowered or Slender Blue Penstemon
Stems slender, 10-40 cm tall, clumped. Dry to moist sites, plains-subalpine.
Flowers dark blue-purple, 6-11 mm long, in dense, often separated whorls.
Leaves narrowly oval to lance-shaped, 4-8 cm long, deep green.
FLOWERS COVERED WITH GLANDULAR HAIRS
P. eriantherus - Fuzzy-tongue or Crested Penstemon
Stems stout 10-40 cm tall, sticky-glandular. Dry, clay soils, prairie-montane.
Flowers pale blue-purple, 2-3 cm long, with short tubes, in dense whorls.
Leaves narrowly elliptic, sometimes slightly toothed and short-hairy.
LEAVES WITH TOOTHED EDGES, LOWER STEMS WOODY
P. fruticosus - Bush Penstemon
Stems up to 40 cm tall, mat-forming. Rocky to wooded areas, foothills-alpine.
Flowers few, blue-purple, up to 50 mm long. Sepals glandular, pointed tips.
Leaves narrowly lance-shaped, evergreen, leathery, and shiny green.
FLOWERS WHITE, CREAM OR YELLOW
P. deustus - Scabland or Scorched or Hotrock Penstemon
Stems 20-60 cm tall, woody base. Grassy and rocky sites, plains-subalpine.
Flowers white-cream, 8-20 mm long, in dense clusters. Upper 2 lobes small.
Leaves oblanceolate, up to 6 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, toothed.
 
sdf sdfsdfsdf sdfsdfsdfsdf sdf sdfgdfgdfgdffdfg df hdfshsdfhsdfgdfgdfgdsf dfg dfg dfgdfg sddfgdf dsfgg
Copyright © Plant-Life.org
Contents English Names Index