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

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon

Penstemon venustus

Close-up sideview of the flower of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area........June 28, 2007. Note the long white hairs on the filaments below the horseshoe-shaped anthers.

Close-up frontal view of the flower of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus The photo at right shows a close-up of the flower of lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.........June 28, 2007.
Characteristics:

Lovely penstemon is a tall, often many stemmed perennial wildflower. Its flowering stems are often up to 80 cm tall. The leaves are all found on the stems. They are lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate in shape, tapering to a point. The leaves are sometimes entire, but more often serrate (See photo below.). The teeth may have soft, fine hairs at the tips The leaves are sessile (no stem) and glabrous (not haired).

The inflorescence is a raceme-panicle, often with all the flowers turned to one side. The corolla is violet to lavender or purple and measures up to 4 cm in length. The corolla is definitely two-lipped. A distinctive trait is that the filaments are pubescent just below the horse-shoe shaped anthers. The staminode is flattened and expanded at the tip with a tuft of long, white hairs. (See closeup photos.)


Habitat:

Lovely penstemon is found in talus or rocky outcrops from the foothills to moderate elevation in the mountains.


Range:

Lovely penstemon is found from southwest Washington south into northeastern Oregon, and eastward into the adjacent, western portions of Idaho.


I feel this penstemon would make a nice wildflower for rock gardens, given adequate space. I now have several individuals in several locations in my gardens. So far, they have survived for about 15 years, although they are in somewhat shady locations and so are a bit tall and gangly. I cover them with plastic draped over pvc tubing for about 4 months over the winter. The best individual flowered much of the summer.

A view of a fully grown Lovely Penstemon Photographed on the Frances Lake Trail, Wallowa-Whitman N.F........late July, 1997.

Another view of a fully grown Lovely Penstemon Photographed on Oregon Highway 3, descending to the Grande Ronde River from the south......Late June, 1998.


Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon growing on a steep slope along the Umatilla Rim Trail on the northwest tip of High Ridge, Umatilla National Forest.........July 24, 2012.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

The photo above shows a mass of lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.........June 28, 2007.

A mid stem leaf of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

The photo above shows a close-up of a stem leaf of the lovely penstemon. Note the serrate margins to the leaves.

Close-up sideview of the flower of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon NRA...........June 28, 2007.

Close-up frontal view of the flower of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area..........June 28, 2007. Note the long white hairs on the filaments below the horseshoe-shaped anthers. The tip of the flattened staminode with its cluster of long, spreading white hairs extends just past the lower lip of the flower.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Flower of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon blooming along Forest Road #39 several miles south of the junction with FS Road #3965, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.......June 11, 2018.

Close-up of the inflorescence of Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

The photo at left shows a close-up of the inflorescence of lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area..........June 28, 2007. Note the long white hairs on the filaments below the horseshoe-shaped anthers. The photo at right shows the inflorescence of lovely penstemon as seen along the Lick Creek Trail #231, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.....August 11, 2018.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon as seen about five miles up Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.........June 28, 2007. Note the long white hairs on the filaments below the horseshoe-shaped anthers.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Masses of lovely penstemon blooming along Forest Road 3915-015 about a mile or so downhill from the Lick Creek Trailhead, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.......July 20, 2019.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus - Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon blooming on balds along the Lick Creek Trail #1809, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area......July 17, 2019.

Lovely Penstemon, Beautiful Penstemon, Blue Mountain Penstemon, Elegant Beardtongue, Elegant Penstemon, Venus Penstemon: Penstemon venustus

Lovely penstemon blooming along Washington Highway 129 along roadcuts about 2 miles west of Fields Springs State Park, Asotin County, Washington...........June 11, 2013.

Paul Slichter