Species Identification

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

AttributeThe current selection is Penstemon_scariosus
ClassificationPenstemon Habroanthus Glabri
GeneralWhite River Penstemon The species name refers to the thinning edges of the calyx meaning “thin” or “membraneous”. It occasionally flops down to 4” tall when loaded with flowers. Blooms: Late May to July.
Anther1.6-2.2 mm long, opening nearly the full length, but not across the connection, long haired on the sides with long tangled hairs that sometimes equal the width of each cell, the opening nipple-toothed.
Staminodereaching the orifice, but not protruding, bearded at the tip and sometimes sparsely below; fertile stamens reaching the orifice to slightly protruding.
Leavesentire, basal and lower cauline ones 5-17 cm (2-6 ˝”) long, 6-15 mm (1/4- ˝”) wide, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, tapering to a winged-stemmed base, the upper cauline ones 4-10 cm (1 ˝-4”) long, 3-10 mm (to 3/8”) wide, narrowly (ob)lanceolate, and stemless.
StemsPerennial herb, 1.5-5 dm (6-18”) tall, with well developed basal leaves; stems ascending or decumbent at the base, few to several arising from a thick, woody crown; herbage smooth.
InflorescenseThyrse of 3- to 8 verticillasters, the cymes 2-4 flowered, sticky-fuzzy or sometimes smooth, one-sided flowering.
Corolla22-30 mm (about an inch) long, puffy, blue to lavender, sticky-fuzzy externally, the palate smooth.
Flower Color
Calyx4-9 mm (<1/2”) long, the segments ovate, lanceolate to acute or acuminate, sticky-fuzzy or sometimes smooth, the edges thinned and ragged
HabitatDesert shrubs, with sagebrush, shadscale and rabbitbrush, to pinyon and juniper woodlands and ponderosa pine, and aspen, 1500-3000 m (4500-9000’).
RangeSlopes of the se Wasatch, Unita and Blue Mts. of ne UT, s through the Utah Plateaus to the n end of the Aquarius Plat. and in the Uinta Basin to Plat. of Wasatch, Carbon and Uintah Cos., UT and adjacent Rio Blanco Co., CO. P. scariosus exhibits a complex range of variability, the specimens more or less sort into the three weakly recognizable varieties in the following key. Each is geographically distinct. var. cyanomontanus Neese (common name: Neese’s Blue Mountain Penstemon) is the most recently described with the glandular (sticky corollas) of P. scariosus of the Blue Mountain Plateau, UT, but with blueish stems. 1a. variety scariosus: Corolla 25-33 mm (1-1 3/8”) long, calyx 7-13 mm (to ˝”) long, anther-cells 1.9-2.6 mm long, Wasatch, Fish Lk and N Aquarius plateaus. 1b. Corolla smaller 15-25 mm long, calyx 3-8 mm long, 2a. variety garrettii (Pennell) N. Holmgren Garrett’s Penstemon [syn: P. garrettii] Anther-cells 1.3-1.7 mm long, corolla lips blue, basal leaves usually persisting at time of fullest flowering: e. side of the s. Wasatch Range, Uinta Mts, Blue Mt and West and East Tavaputs Plat, not entering the range of the following: 2b. variety albifluvis (England) N. Holmgren; [syn: P. albifluvis] Anther-cells 1.8- 2.1 mm long, corolla lips lavender to pale blue; basal leaves usually not persisting until anthesis (full blooming); wc Uintah Co, UT and adj. Rio Blanco Co., CO.