The photo above shows a close-up of the corolla of fine-toothed penstemon as seen in gravelly soils about 5 miles south of Grassy Knoll, southern Gifford Pinchot N. F....................May 24, 2007. Note the tuft of yellowish hairs at the tip of the staminode.
The photo at right shows a close-up of the corolla of fine-toothed penstemon as seen in gravelly soils about 5 miles south of Grassy Knoll, southern Gifford Pinchot N. F....................May 24, 2007. Note the opposite anthers which are split their full length and shallowly boat shaped.
Fine-toothed penstemon is an attractive wildflower with a cluster of erect to arching stems from 30-80 cm high. The basal leaves are primarily elliptic in shape on long petioles and range to 12 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide. The margins range from entire to finely and irregularly toothed. The stem leaves range from 2-6 cm in length and have sessile or clasping bases towards and within the inflorescence. The stem leaves are finely toothed.
The inflorescence consists of a series of 5-10 vertical clusters of flowers, with the individual cymes (flower cluster coming from a leaf axil) 2-4 flowered. The calyx is 3-5 mm long with oblong to ovate sepals. The corolla is bright blue to blue-purple with the palate containing some short yellow hairs. The corolla expands gradually from the base to the mouth, which is strongly 2-lipped. The 12-18 mm long corolla is slightly glandular on the exterior surface. The anthers are not hairy and open full length, with the anther sacs opposite each other. The staminode reaches the mouth of the corolla, is s-shaped and covered with yellow hairs on the distal half.
Fine-toothed penstemon is a fine garden plant which looks attractive either by itself or in clusters of several plants. It survives well in soils with good drainage in gardens west of the Cascades, although it may be a bit short lived (2-3 years). In my experiecne, the plant reseeds well, so I have a bloom in May and then a second bloom in the fall as young plants mature. The clusters may need some suport as they tend to sprawl along the ground if placed at the front of the bed.
Fine-toothed penstemon may be found in open woods and clearings and on rocky slopes.
Fine-toothed penstemon may be found from Yakima County, WA south along the eastern base of the Cascades through klickitat and Skamania counties, WA to northern Hood River County, OR.
In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4900' from Crown Point east to Hood River, OR.