The photo above shows a close-up of the congested inflorescence of globe penstemon as seen in meadows along Hat Pt. Road several miles below Grannyview in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.........June 28, 2007. Note the yellow-bearded staminode in the palate.
Globe penstemon is an attractive perennial wildflower especially unique (for Penstemons) in having a large rounded cluster of flowers at the top of the stem, sometimes subtended by several smaller clusters of flowers below. The several to many stems are 20-60 cm high on slender to stout stems. The herbage is generally glabrous, although lines of tiny hairs may extend up the stems. The numerous basal leaves are arranged in rosettes. Individual leaves are 5-18 cm long, the blades lanceolate to elliptic with petioles about the same length of the blade. The blade margins are entire and the surfaces are glabrous. The stem leaves are also large, becoming slightly reduced in size up the stem. These leaves are lanceolate to oblong in shape, sessile, often with clasping bases.
The inflorescence is a dense head of flowers with 1-3 smaller clusters of flowers below. The lowest clusters are on stems up to 5 cm long and held closely to the stem. The corollas are funnel-like, ranging from 15-20 mm long. The outer surface of the corolla is glabrous and blue or bluish-purple. The palate is ridged and yellow-bearded. The calyx is 5-8 mm long, the individual sepals wide with thin, ragged margins. The anthers are glabrous, the sacs not completely split, so that the outer ends are somewhat sac-like (See photos below.). The staminode just reaches the mouth of the flower and is yellow-bearded the distal half of its length.
Globe penstemon is found on moist to dry,open, meadow slopes. It is often found in open timber or rocky places from the higher foothills to timber line.
Globe penstemon is found from Wallowa and Baker Counties in northeastern Oregon east to Adams, Benewah, and Custer Counties in central Idaho and southwestern Montana.
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