Species Identification

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

AttributeThe current selection is Penstemon_procerus
ClassificationPenstemon Penstemon Penstemon Proceri
GeneralSmall-flowered or Alpine Penstemon [syn: P. tolmiei Hook.) Since procerus means “high” or “very tall”, this wide-ranging penstemon seems rather mis-named as it is usually no more than 16” tall. Blooms: May to August, depending on elevation.
AntherSmooth, sacs completely opening and spreading opposite and flat.
StaminodeLightly bearded or sometimes smooth in var. formosus, included with flower.
Leaves1-6 cm (to 2 ¼”) long on short stems, basal leaves well-developed or lacking, depending on the variety, and smooth; stem leaves mostly lanceolate, reduced upward, thin and stemless or clasping.
Stems5-40 cm (2-16”) tall, tuft or mat-forming, usually with short, sterile, leafy stems at the base, upright, slender, smooth or sometimes finely hairy below, but not sticky.
InflorescenseOf 1 to several, very dense, small-flowered verticillasters, the terminal cluster a thyrse (densely compact), some flowers angle downward, smooth.
CorollaTiny, 6-11 mm (to 7/16”) long, deep blue to purple or occasionally cream, the tube base sometimes violet, throat usually light-colored, tube not much expanded, smooth outside, palate lightly bearded.
Flower Color
Calyx1.5-6 mm long, sepals elliptic to ovate, tips variable, smooth or faintly hairy.
HabitatDry to wet meadows to open or timbered slopes, foothills to alpine.
RangeAlaska and the Yukon to WA, OR, CA, ID, MT, UT and CO. 1a var. procerus: Calyx 3-5 mm long, tail-like tips usually as long or often long than the base of sepals, 2.3-3.5 dm tall; Wasatch Range, Uinta Mts. n throughout Rocky Mts. to AK and Yukon, OR, WA………… 1b Calyx 1.3-2.5mm, tip is ragged-toothed, or if tail-tipped, the tip shorter than basal portion, 0.5-12 m wide. 2a Plants 1-3.5 dm tall, basal leaves 3-5.2 cm long, 4-12 mm wide 3a var. aberrans (M.E. Jones) A. Nels: Calyx 2-3 mm long, acute or acuminate; corolla 6-8 mm long, anther-cells 0.3-0.4 mm long; endemic to the Utah Plateaus, to Tushar and Aquarius plateau…….. 3b var. modestus (Greene) N. Holmgren: Calyx 1.3-2.6 mm long, truncate to obtuse, ragged-toothed; corolla 7.5-11 mm long, anther-cells 0.4-0.5 mm long. 4a Basal leaves few or reduced, endemic to the East Humboldt and Ruby mts. of Elko Co., NV. 4b var. brachyanthus: Basal leaves many, crowded, leaves to 50 mm long and 1/3- 1/6 as wide, plant 15-30 cm tall, stem leafy, Cascade Range in OR & n CA………… 2b var formosus (A. Nels.) Cronq: Plants 0.5-1.2 dm tall; basal leaves 1.2-3 cm long, 3-6 mm wide; ne OR and Steens Mt., n CA, south to Mono Co. and in Toquima Range, Nye Co., NV.