Beardtongue (6)

Beardtongue are also called Penstemon, which is a very large genus that is easy to recognize, but not so easy to identify individual species. The flowers are tubular with two lips; the upper lip is two-lobed and the lower is three-lobed. The leaves are opposite without stalks. The flowers can be blue, purple, lavender, pink or red. The common name Beardtongue comes from the long, hairy stamen which extends from the throat. See Scarlet Penstemon, Mat Penstemon, Palmer's Penstemon and other Penstemon in Blue Long Clusters.

Penstemon jamesii

James' Beardtongue
Penstemon jamesii

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA:
Photo taken on: June 3, 2009
Location: White Rock, NM
Life Zones: Plains to montane
Habitat: Dry, sandy areas, pinyon-juniper woods

Grows to 1 ½ft with flowers growing crowded on one side of the stem. The narrow lance-shaped leaves are bluish-green and can have smooth, wavy or toothed edges. Flowers have a broad throat which is broader than it is high with prominent purplish streaks. Flowers can be pinkish, pale lavender to violet-blue.

James' Beardtongue is quite variable as can be seen below. All these plants were found in Los Alamos County. arrow

Penstemon jamesiiPenstemon jamesii
Penstemon lentus

Handsome Beardtongue
Penstemon lentus

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA: Handsome Penstemon, Thick Penstemon
Photo taken on: May 10, 2010
Location: Little Wildhorse Canyon, UT
Life Zones: Foothills
Habitat: Dry, sandy areas, openings

Grows to 1ft tall with a smooth stem and thick, light green, oval-shaped leaves that clasp the stem. Flowers grow mostly on one side of the stem and petals flare back. Color ranges from light purple, lavender through bluish-purple to pinkish. It has light stripes in the throat.

Penstemon secundiflorus

Sidebells Beardtongue
Penstemon secundiflorus

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA: Sidebells Penstemon, Orchid Beardtongue
Photo taken on: May 1, 2015
Location: Poshuouinge, Santa Fe NF, NM
Life Zones: Plains to foothills
Habitat: Dry, sandy areas, pinyon-juniper woods

Grows to 1 ½ft with purplish to lavender flowers on one side of the smooth stem. Leaves are thickened, soft bluish-green and lance-shaped.

Penstemon comarrhenus

Dusty Beardtongue
Penstemon comarrhenus

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA: Lavender Beardtongue, Canyon Beardtongue,
 Dusty Penstemon, Pin-striped Penstemon

Photo taken on: September 11, 2013
Location: Pueblo Canyon, Los Alamos, NM
Life Zones: Foothills
Habitat: Sagebrush, oak, pinyon juniper woods

Grows to 3ft with widely spaced narrow leaves on the stem and broader basal leaves. Flowers grow on one side of the stem and are pale lavender pink with violet red stripes in the throat.

Penstemon auriberbis

Colorado Penstemon
Penstemon auriberbis

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA: Fuzzy Tongue Beardtongue
Photo taken on: May 29, 2016
Location: Wet Mountains, Eastern CO
Life Zones: Foothills
Habitat: Dry sandy soils, pinyon-juniper woods

Grows to 10" with narrow, grayish-green leaves crowded at the base, and numerous on the stems. Flowers grow mostly on one side of the stem and are lilac with an orange "beardtongue" protruding and stripes in the throat. Grows in southern Colorado and neighboring New Mexico.

Penstemon ophianthus

Coiled Anther Penstemon
Penstemon ophianthus (Penstemon jamesii ssp. ophianthus)

Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
AKA: Snake-flowered Penstemon, Arizona Beardtongue
Photo taken on: May 14, 2015
Location: Poshuouinge, Santa Fe NF, NM
Life Zones: Plains to foothills
Habitat: Dry, sandy, gravelly areas, pinyon-juniper woods

Growing about 8" high with many narrow lance-shaped 2" leaves both basal and on the stems. Flowers and buds are very sticky hairy and grow on one side of the stem. Flowers are lavender to violet, about ½" long  with a densely hairy throat and tongue which extends from the throat. Similar to P. jamesii but much shorter. This is not shown as collected in this area but I found more plants on FS Rd 23, in the Carson NF.

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