Erosion control/reclamation: All species are mentioned for their value in mixes for erosion control and beautification values.
Wildlife: Penstemons are considered desirable forages for deer, antelope, and birds either as herbage or seed. They may also provide some cover for selected small bird species. They provide diversity to the plant community.
Jeanne R. Janish
© The New York Botanic Garden
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.
General: Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae). Penstemon or beardtongue species are perennial forbs or sub-shrubs to shrubs with attractive flowers. They are short to long-lived.
Penstemons have opposite, entire, or toothed leaves. They have several stalked flowers or flower clusters that are borne in the axils of the upper leaves or leaflike bracts. The tubular corolla is strongly to distinctly two-lipped at the mouth with a two-lobed upper lip and a three-lobed lower lip. There are 4 anther-bearing (fertile) stamens and a single sterile stamen or staminodia that is often hairy at the tip. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule.
Rydberg’s penstemon is a perennial herb to woody subshrub, 2 to 4 dm tall with well-developed basal leaves and stems arising from a woody caudex. Flowers blue to violet or purple with a densely golden-yellow bearded staminode. Cronquist et al. (1984) recognizes three varieties and provides a key.
Rydberg’s penstemon is distributed throughout the western U.S. Penstemons are common to the western United States. Except for one minor species, the genus Penstemon does not occur naturally outside of North America. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.