[Beardtongues and Penstemons: The Genus Penstemon East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon

Penstemon speciosus

Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi

Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus

Showy penstemon as seen near Rimrock Lake in Moses Coulee, north-central Washington........June 7, 2009.

Inflorescence of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosusThe photo at right shows the inflorescence of showy penstemon as seen at Newberry Crater Volcanic National Monument......7/13/94.
Characteristics:

Showy penstemon is a fine perennial wildflower, consisting of one to several stems arising as much as 90 cm high. This penstemon has both basal and stem leaves. Both are typically glabrous or occasionally found with some fine hairs. The leaves are all entire margined. The basal leaves are narrowly lanceolate to elliptical in shape, and may be as much as 15 cm long. The stem leaves are smaller, linear to lanceolate, without petioles. The stem leaves may be channeled or somewhat v-shaped in cross-section.

The inflorescence is mostly long and narrow, with 4 to 12 closely spaced clusters of of flowers. The sepals are lanceolate to ovate (to 10 mm long). The corollas are violet, purplish, or bright blue in color. The corolla is also strongly two-lipped. Two deep clefts on opposite sides of the corolla separate the upper and lower lips. The tube may range in length from 25 to 38 mm.


Habitat:

Showy penstemon is found in varied habitats, from subalpine conditions through the ponderosa pine forests east of the Cascades to the sagebrush "desert".


Range:

Showy penstemon is a widespread species, being found from central and eastern Washington south through Oregon (east of the Cascades), west to the Siskiyou Mts. , east into southwest Idaho and Utah, and further south into southern California.


Raceme of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Several photos of showy penstemon with flowers a much darker blue than is usually seen in central Oregon. Photographed along Forest Service Road #16 near Logan Valley, Malheur National Forest.......July 2, 2010.

Corolla of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Frontal view of the flower of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Close-up of a stamen of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Basal leaves of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Paired stem leaves of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Additional close-ups of showy penstemon as seen along Oregon Highway 19 adjacent to the Shelton State Wayside.......June 30, 2010.

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy penstemon blooming (left) along the South Loop Road at the upper end of the Rooster Comb, Steens Mountain...........July 9, 2014. The photo at right shows showy penstemon as seen along FS Road 42 adjacent to the junction with FS Road 4205, Ochoco National Forest........June 25, 2017.

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy penstemon as seen along FS Road #38-200 southeast of Spanish Peak, Ochoco National Forest..........June 14, 2015.

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Flower buds of Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi) - Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy penstemon with flower buds ready to pop as seen at Fort Rock State Park, Lake County, OR........May 18, 2016.

Inflorescence of Penstemon speciosus - Flower of Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus - Flowers of Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy penstemon as seen at Newberry Crater Volcanic National Monument (left and center).......July 13, 1994.The photo at right shows the flowers of showy penstemon as seen on vernally moist slopes on low mesas at the southeastern corner of Hart Mt. National Antelope Refuge..........June 10, 2016.

Royal Beardtongue, Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon: Penstemon speciosus (Synonym: Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi)

Showy penstemon blooming atop the Mount Pisgah ridgeline near East Point, Ochoco National Forest.........July 14, 2017.

Paul Slichter