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Hot-rock Penstemon, Scabland penstemon, Hot-rock Beardtongue - Penstemon deustus


Family: Plantaginaceae - Plantain family Genus Common Name: Beardtongue Native Status: Native
Penstemon deustus - Hot-rock Penstemon, Scabland penstemon, Hot-rock Beardtongue. A plant found in 7 of our western states (CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY,) Hot-rock Penstemon is usually found in middle elevations in rocky soil, growing up to 2 feet tall. It is among the 249 species of Penstemon found in the United States.

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Penstemon deustus

Distribution of Penstemon deustus in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Payette River Valley, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-17Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Some descriptions I've seen about Hot-rock Penstemon describe it as one of the less attractive penstemons from a gardening perspective, probably due to the lack of significant color. However, I find the splash of white to be refreshing.

Some forms of the species have purple lines in the corolla; you can see vestiges in these, especially the top two blossoms. A feature to note when identifying Beardtongues is whether the corolla tube gradually widens, or if it abruptly widens. In P. deustus the tube gradually widens.
Penstemon deustus

Site: Payette River Valley, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
There are 4 classified varieties of Penstemon deustus. This one is likely var. deustus based on a description from the Washington State DNR. In this variety the staminode (sterile stamen from which “beardtongue” gets its name) is mostly glabrous; in other varieties (and most other penstemons) it is usually distinctly bearded. If you look very closely at the photo you can see a tiny cluster of hairs at the apex of the staminode.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Penstemon deustus

Site: Payette River Valley, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
Hot-rock Penstemon has white to drab yellow flowers in terminal clusters atop what is usually many stems.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Penstemon deustus

Site: Payette River Valley, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
The lower leaves are opposite and clearly toothed, another feature of var. P. Deustus var. deustus.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Penstemon deustus

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer