Wax-leaved Penstemon
Penstemon nitidus
Dougl. ex Benth.
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Penstemon

Description
General: perennial, commonly with several rather stout
stems arising from a short, branched base and a branching
taproot, mostly 10-30 cm tall, wholly hairless, the herbage
with a bluish, waxy coating.
Leaves: thick and firm, entire, the basal ones tufted,
oblanceolate or broader, stalked, up to about 10 cm long
and 2.5 cm wide. Stem leaves opposite, mostly stalkless
or nearly so, narrow or broad.
Flowers: numerous in whorls in a dense, elongated
cluster, the bracts at the whorl bases broad or narrow,
depending on variety. Corolla bright blue, mostly 13-18 mm
long, the tube expanded farther out. Pollen sacs essentially
hairless, opening all the way and becoming opposite, 0.8-
1.2 mm long. Staminode slightly protruding, prominently
yellow-bearded for 2-4 mm toward the evidently expanded
tip, the hairs mostly 0.5-1.0 mm long, sometimes longer.
Flowering time: May-July.
Fruits:
capsules, 9-12 mm long with many seeds, the
seeds about 3 mm long.

Distribution
Open, often grassy hillsides and plains, occasionally up to
moderate elevations in the mountains, where sometimes
occurring on talus, in most parts of MT. Also from s.w.
Alberta to ID, n. WY and w. ND.
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Contents
Identification
English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
var. polyphyllus:
(click on images for full size)

Varieties:

var. nitidus Dougl. ex Benth.:
Leaves and bracts mostly broader, the bracts mostly clasping and ovate to almost round. Calyx mostly 3-6 mm long at flowering. Corolla generally hairless.

var. polyphyllus (Pennell) Cronq.:

Leaves and bracts relatively narrow, the bracts mostly lanceolate or lance-ovate. Calyx mostly 5-8 mm long at flowering. Corolla generally with a few long hairs near the base of the lower lip within.


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