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Click for more photographs of Penstemon rostriflorus.

Penstemon rostriflorus
Penstemon rostriflorus. Synonym:  Penstemon bridgesii. (Bridges' Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Foothills. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Summer.
Mona and Mike's Five Springs Farm, July 20, 2009.

Penstemon rostriflorus is an unusual Penstemon on several counts: it is woody, evergreen, and shrub-like.  It blooms for many weeks in mid-to-late summer and even into fall with flowers and foliage that strongly resemble those of Penstemon barbatus.  Intermountain Flora says, "The superficial resemblance of the strongly bilabiate, bright red corolla to that of P. barbatus is quite striking, but the differences in other characteristics are great enough to negate any idea of common origin".  The forms of the two species are quite different: P. barbatus is tall, lanky, and airy whereas P. rostriflorus is much shorter and crowded. Also, P. barbatus is flexible and herbaceous throughout.  P. rostriflorus is quite woody at its base.

Asa Gray described and named this plant "Penstemon bridgesii" in 1868 (from a specimen that Bridges collected in California) and that name remained with the plant for a century until Arthur Cronquist, lead author of Intermountain Flora, was informed of an earlier name for the plant: Albert Kellogg (1813-1887) had collected the plant in a "crevice of the lower Dome, at the back of the Great Tissaac, or South Dome - 3,500 feet above the Yo-Semite Valley".  Kellogg named the plant Penstemon rostriflorus and published this name and the description in 1860.  As often happens with name changes, the common name of "Bridges' Penstemon" has stayed with the plant even though the scientific name has changed. 

"Rostriflorus" means "beaked flower".

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus.  Synonym:  Penstemon bridgesii.  (Bridges' Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)
 

Foothills. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Summer.
Mona and Mike's Five Springs Farm, July 20, 2009.

Penstemon rostriflorus is often found on the rim-rock above Canyons in the Four Corners area.  It is found in all Four Corners states and in Nevada and California.

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus.  Synonym:  Penstemon bridgesii.  (Bridges' Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Foothills. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 4, 2009.

Stems grow both upright and sprawling; dried, beige flower stems persist for several years; and darker, thicker, woody stems (lower center of photograph) support the entire plant.

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus.  Synonym:  Penstemon bridgesii.  (Bridges' Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Foothills. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Summer.
Mona and Mike's Five Springs Farm, July 20, 2009.

Flowers and stems of P. rostriflorus have glandular hairs so sticky that small insects are trapped (top of stem in first photograph and base of flower in second photograph).  The tan anther sacs do not have hairs (as the third photograph at left shows).  Compare these flowers to those of Penstemon barbatus.

Penstemon rostriflorus

Penstemon rostriflorus.  Synonym:  Penstemon bridgesii.  (Bridges' Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Foothills. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 4, 2009.

Seed pods remain on the plant for a year and are quite noticeable.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Penstemon rostriflorus



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