Species Identification

Interested in the identification of penstemons? Please select a species then click on submit:

AttributeThe current selection is Penstemon_acuminatus
ClassificationPenstemon Penstemon Coerulei
GeneralSand Dune or Sharp-leaved Penstemon Acuminatus means “tapered to a sharp, acuminate tip” (with concave sides). A short-lived perennial, it is often easily recognized by leaves or bracts in lower sections that are wider than long. However, a race of P. acuminatus in c WA has leaves that are longer than wide. Blooms April to June.
Anther0.7-1.2 mm long, smooth, black outside, the sacs open totally, becoming opposite and shallowly boat-shaped.
StaminodeGlabrous or more commonly, yellow-bearded at the tip, just reaching the orifice.
LeavesBasal ones 4-15 c ( to 6”) long, thick and leathery, smooth and bluish, entire, stemless or clasping, broadly elliptic, abruptly tapered to short, sharp, generally acuminate tips, often wider than long.
Stems1.5-6 dm (6-24”) long, one to several, stout, erect, smooth and quite glaucous (bluish), usually with a few short sterile shoots at the base.
InflorescenseNarrow, elongated, smooth, composed of 3 to 18 somewhat congested verticillasters attached in the axils of upper stem leaves and bracts, the peduncles (stems) short.
Corolla1.2-2 mm (1/2-3/4”) long, intense blue to lavender or pink, the throat paler and often marked with purple guide lines, the throat moderately inflated, distinctly 2-lipped, the palate smooth.
Flower Color
Calyx5-9 mm (to 5/16”) long, the sepals lanceolate or ovate and tapered to sharp points, green with entire, narrowly ragged edges.
HabitatDry, open, sandy places at lower elevations.
RangeCentral WA to n OR, generally near the Columbia River, se OR and the Snake River Plain of ID. var. latebracteatus: stem leaves often wider than long, corollas are 1.5 to 2 cm (5/8-3/4”), calyx 5-11mm long, s-cent OR, sw ID and nw NV. var. acuminatus: leaves longer than wide; corollas: 1-1.5 cm (3/8-5/8”) long; calyx 4 1/2 -6 ˝ mm long, Columbia Basin, s-cent WA and n-cent OR.