Penstemon palmeri

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Penstemon palmeri
Penstemon palmeri 5.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon
P. palmeri
Binomial name
Penstemon palmeri

Penstemon palmeri, known by the common name Palmer's penstemon, is a species of perennial flowering plant in the genus Penstemon that is notable for its showy, rounded flowers, and for being one of the few scented penstemons.[1][2] The plant, in the family Plantaginaceae, is named after the botanist Edward Palmer.


Penstemon palmeri is native to desert mountains from the eastern Mojave Desert in California, to eastern Nevada, northeastern Arizona, and New Mexico, and north through areas in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Washington.[1]

Penstemon palmeri is a drought-tolerant perennial plant, preferring well draining drier soils. It grows in washes and bajadas, roadsides, canyon floors, creosote bush scrub, and juniper woodlands, from 1,100–2,300 metres (3,600–7,500 ft).[1][3]


Penstemon palmeri, Palmer's penstemon, grows erect and may reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) height. The leaves are generally oppositely arranged and have toothed margins. The inflorescence is a panicle or raceme with small bracts.[1][3]

The flower has a five-lobed calyx of sepals and a cylindrical corolla which may have an expanded throat. The staminode is partially hairy. The showy, rounded flower has large pink to violet to blue-purple petals and is fragrant, which distinguishes it from other, similar-looking penstemon. Occasional specimens are red, yellow, or white flowered.[3]


There are three Penstemon palmeri varieties:

  • Penstemon palmeri var. palmeri - Palmer's penstemon, most occurrences of this species are this variety.[4]
  • Penstemon palmeri var. macranthus - scented beardtongue, is endemic to the Great Basin Desert in Nevada[5]
  • Penstemon palmeri var. eglandulosus - scented beardtongue, is limited to Utah and Arizona [6]


It is evergreen, and it is a larval host to both the Arachne checkerspot and the variable checkerspot.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d . USDA Profile - P. palmeri
  2. ^ "Penstemon palmeri". Denver Botanic Gardens - Gardens Navigator. Denver Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Jepson -P. palmeri
  4. ^ USDA var. palmeri
  5. ^ USDA var. macranthus
  6. ^ USDA. var. eglandulosus
  7. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.

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