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Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Perennial Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

General: Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri var. palmeri) is a perennial forb with several tall, upright stems that all arise from the ground. Leaves opposite, upper leaf pairs fused around stem.

Inflorescence glandular or glandular-hairy. Flowers pink to rosy, bulbous (24–34 mm), asymmetrical, and a yellow-hairy tongue (staminode) sticks out of each flower (another name for the family is Beardtongue). Anther sacs large (1.3–2.4 mm). Unique to Penstemons in our area, the flowers of Palmer's Penstemon are fragrant. Strong bee guides on lower "petals."

Palmer's Penstemon is a fairly common component of desert vegetation communities on dry, well-drained sandy and gravelly sites on desert flats, in and along washes, and on bajadas in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone. This species is fairly common on roadsides and in burn areas.

Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

Family: Figwort (Scrophulariaceae). Recent genetic research suggests that Penstemon should be included in the Plantaginaceae.

Other Names:

Plant Form: Several tall, upright stems all arising from the ground.

Height: Flowering stalk to about 6 feet.

Stems: Round.

Leaves: Opposite, thick; leaves on the stem to 5 inches long, triangular, clasping.

Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

Flowers: Blooms late spring and early summer. Flower complex and bilaterally symmetrical; flower with 5 lobes, upper lip with 2-lobes, lower lip with 3, petals light pink with purple streaks.

Seeds: Fruit: oblong capsule. Seeds: small, black.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on flats, in and along washes, on bajadas, and on moderate slopes in the lower mountains.

Elevation: About 3,500 to 7,500 feet.

Distribution: Southern California to southern Utah and Arizona.

Comments: if you sniff a Palmer's Penstemon flower, you should be able to smell fragrance. In our area, fragrance is unique to Palmer's Penstemon -- it's a definitive test.

Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)Penstemon on rocky hillside Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon during the heat of summer (July 115 degrees)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon adjacent to robust Buckhorn Cholla
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon in Basin and Range National Monument
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon during the heat of summer (July 115 degrees)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon on gravel hillside
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon growing from crack in a rock face
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Penstemon growing from crack in a rock face
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Sprouts
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Leaves: Opposite, thick; to 5 inches long, triangular, clasping
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Leaves clasping with toothed edges
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Flowering stalk
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Staminode exserted, densely yellow-hairy
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Staminode exserted, densely yellow-hairy
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Anther sack before opening
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Anther sack before opening
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Staminode (yellow hairy), filaments, and open anther sacks
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Anther sacks open from the middle and fold out
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Anther sacks open from the middle and fold out
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Unusual white specimen
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Unusual white specimen
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Unusual white specimen
Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Palmer's Penstemon in southern Gold Butte
More to come
More to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170904

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