Penstemons, new, 2013

March 23, 2014

During 2013 I photographed 4 Pentemons in flower that I had not photographed in flower before.

Non-flowering P. pachyphyllus I had seen in the Confusion Range before.  Some of those photos are in earlier posts.  My first and second visits during 2013 to the right area were too early, but my third 2013 visit in late May was timed well, and then I obtained some photos of flowering pachyphyllus.  In that P. pachyphyllus habitat, I stumbled onto 3 flowering plants of a very short Penstemon new to me, and that species appears to be P. caespitosus.

During July 2012 a friend had led me on a trail run up an area in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Range.  I did not have my camera along for that, so that day I failed to photograph the two Penstemon species we jogged past that I knew were species I had never photographed.  In late June 2013 he asked me to join him and his daughter on a backpacking overnight along that same trail, so I said sure and brought along my camera.  That is how I collected the P. whippleanus and P. leonardii var. leonardii photos here–my first photos of those taxa.

The 4 Penstemon taxa covered in this post are:

pachyphyllus
caespitosus
leonardii var. leonardii
wihppleanus

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early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

All the P. pachyphyllus photos here are from one of the two canyons in the Confusion Range where I have seen this species.  It appears P. pachyphyllus was not vouchered previously from this range?

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early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (b), with last year's stems, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (b), with last year’s stems, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

During 2012 about half of the P. pachyphyllus plants in this canyon had had their fresh stems cut down and dismantled–I presume by rodents.  This plant’s 2012 stems were still intact the following season.  Curiously, in 2013 a much smaller proportion of P. pachyphyllus stems here seemed dismantled by mammals–less than 10%.  2012′s winter and spring were drier than 2013′s.  Maybe when the neighborhood rodents are thirstier then they are more inclined to nibble down the P. pachyphyllus flower stems?

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early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (c), closeup of last year's stem, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

early May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (c), closeup of last year’s stem, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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mid May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), flowers about to open, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

mid May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), flowers about to open, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

In mid May, this plant’s earliest flowers are still about two days from opening.

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Two weeks later in late May, it appears all this canyon’s P. pachyphyllus plants that will flower in 2013 are now flowering.

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (b), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (b), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (c), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (c), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (d), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (d), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Different plants growing in close proximity can show some difference in coloration.

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (e), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (e), blooming, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (f), blooming, dusk, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus (f), blooming, dusk, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus with roosting Pseudomasaris vespoides (pollen wasp) at dusk (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus with roosting Pseudomasaris vespoides (pollen wasp) at dusk (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

I spent some time online to figure out the species of this pollen wasp.  It’s quite non-aggressive and specializes in pollen collection.  When I passed these plants in the afternoon, a couple of wasps of this species were flying and gathering pollen from these plants’ flowers.  Now at dusk I found two wasps had begun their overnight rest inserted into open flowers.  The two wasps were still in this same position after nightfall, hours after these photos, when I passed this spot my final time that day.  I wonder whether others have noticed this species of wasp sleeping in P. pachyphyllus flowers?

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late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus with roosting Pseudomasaris vespoides (pollen wasp) at dusk (b), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon pachyphyllus with roosting Pseudomasaris vespoides (pollen wasp) at dusk (b), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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mid May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (a), lowest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

mid May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (a), lowest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

This was what I stumbled onto in mid May and wondered what “new” species of Penstemon this was.  This plant’s structure and leaf shape are different enough from Penstmons I’d known that, had I not seen the flowers, I would have walked by and assumed it was some aster and not a Penstemon.

Later as I viewed photos online and in books, I did not think this species could be P. caespitosus because its leaves are so different from P. caespitosus leaves of that species’ better-known populations eastward.  But the flowers are quite similar to eastward populations’ flowers, so I assume this is P. caespitosus.  There is at least one previous herbarium voucher of P. caespitosus from the Confusion Range, but I think that’s probably from a different drainage than where I found these.

I only noticed three of these plants, all growing within the span of elevation in which about 30 mature P. pachyphyllus grew.  In these photos’ captions I distinguish the 3 different P. caespitosus plants.  Other Penstemon species that share the same habitat are P. eatonii and P. leonardii var. patricus.

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mid May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (b), lowest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

mid May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (b), lowest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (a), lowest plant of 3 seen (flowering more now, 2 weeks later), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (a), lowest plant of 3 seen (flowering more now, 2 weeks later), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (b), middle plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (b), middle plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

This middle P. caespitosus plant among the 3 I noticed was the smallest and looked like it would have only about 3 flowers in 2013.  This plant is partly shaded by a juniper, and probably would appreciate more sun?

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late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (c), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (c), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (d), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (d), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

This is the best shot I managed that allows seeing into the corolla’s tube.

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late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (e), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2013, Penstemon caespitosus (e), highest plant of 3 seen, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (a), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (a), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

For years I had mistakenly assumed some of the P. humilis or P. cyananthus I saw in the Wasatch Range might be P. leonardii var. leonardii.  But now I can distinguish those reliably.  Here’s P. leonardii var. leonardii, growing up at about 9,300 ft elevation.

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late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (b), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (b), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

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late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (c), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (c), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

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late June 2013, Penstemon cyananthus (left) and Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (right), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon cyananthus (left) and Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii (right), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

P. leonardii var. patricus and P. cyananthus can share habitat up at the high end of the elevation window for P. cyananthus.

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late June 2013, habitat of Penstemon cyananthus and Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii, Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, habitat of Penstemon cyananthus and Penstemon leonardii var. leonardii, Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

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late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (a), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (a), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

In a mostly shaded, S-facing spot along the trail, there were a few P. whippleanus plants.  This is the light purplish-flowered variety.  In 2007, at higher elevation in the Uintah Range and growing in full sun, I had seen but not photographed the very dark purple-flowered variety of P. whippleanus.

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late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (b), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (b), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

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late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (c), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, Penstemon whippleanus (c), Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

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late June 2013, habitat of Penstemon whippleanus, Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

late June 2013, habitat of Penstemon whippleanus, Big Cottonwood Cyn drainage, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake Co, UT

With this post I believe I’ve now shown here in-flower photos of 25 different Penstemon taxa from Utah and Nevada.  25 is the total if P. cyananthus and longiflorus are considered separate and if both patricus and leonardii variants of P. leonardii are considered (…so I say “taxa” rather than “species”).

At some point I should probably make a compilation post by reposting one photo per taxon–maybe if I reach 30 taxa?

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This is the final post covering my Penstemon shots from 2010-2012.  Shown here are the 5 red or pink -flowering species of Penstemon I photographed across these 3 seasons.  1 of these species I had not photographed before–utahensis.

The 5 species shown in this post are:

rostriflorus
palmeri
eatonii
confusus
utahensis

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early July 2010, Penstemon rostriflorus (a), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon rostriflorus (a), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

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early July 2010, Penstemon rostriflorus (b), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon rostriflorus (b), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

When this species occurs in full sun, as shown, it can bear more flowers than when in shadier spots.

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early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, W Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, W Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

Plants that would flower during a year of average precipitation sometimes endure a dry springtime with essentially no precipitation, and then that summer they do not bother to flower at all.

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early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, central Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, central Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

The flower stalks you see on this old plant are all left over from the previous year.  In 2012 this plant did not flower.

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early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, E Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

early Oct 2012, Penstemon rostriflorus, E Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

However, in a different part of this mountain range I found a few plants with these very late-season flowers.  I believe these P. rostriflorus did not begin to flower in ~July like usual, but instead began in late September.  Here in this spot, mostly shaded by junipers and aided by the little rain that fell July-Sept, these plants released a few very late flowers–which came so late they probably failed to result in viable seed?

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early July 2010, Penstemon palmeri, S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon palmeri, S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

This species is very easy to see and has been transferred north of its native range during recent decades by humans.  Why did it fail to migrate into north half of Utah on its own, since now it persists just fine in patches there? Maybe on its own it had been progressing north slowly? Hmm.  In any case these plants here in the southern Mineral Mtns occur within the species’ natural range, I believe.

P. palmeri may be the only Utah-native Penstemon that has a good, strong scent.  I think this suggests it has evolved toward pollination by moths–in addition to the daytime pollinators it attracts.

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early July 2010, habitat of Penstemon palmeri, S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, habitat of Penstemon palmeri, S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

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mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, E Pine Valley Mtns, Washington Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, E Pine Valley Mtns, Washington Co, UT

Here along the Pine Valley Mtns, this species’ leaves are broad & irregularly ruffled.  Years prior, I had noticed these leaves looked much different than the P. eatonii leaves farther N and NE.  Before seeing these plants’ flowers, I assumed these plants must be something other than P. eatonii, and I mistakenly considered these plants P. laevis, which seemed reasonable based on what I could observe.  But no–once I saw these flowers it was obvious these are P. eatonii.

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mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, W Antelope Range (a), Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, W Antelope Range (a), Iron Co, UT

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mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, W Antelope Range (b), Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon eatonii, W Antelope Range (b), Iron Co, UT

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late May 2011, Penstemon eatonii, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

late May 2011, Penstemon eatonii, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Notice how these leaves are narrow and unruffled–much different than those of the plant 3 photos above & 2 counties south.

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early Sept 2012, Penstemon eatonii, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

early Sept 2012, Penstemon eatonii, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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Penstemon pachyphyllus w P. eatonii (b), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon pachyphyllus with Penstemon eatonii, closer (b), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

I posted this shot in an earlier post that focussed on P. pachyphyllus.  Here the two Penstemon species grow near each other in the dry wash.

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early May 2010, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

early May 2010, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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mid May 2010, Penstemon confusus, S North House Range, Millard Co, UT

mid May 2010, Penstemon confusus, S North House Range, Millard Co, UT

These two shots’ P. confusus plants were each growing in full sun.  This species can also occur in areas mostly shaded by pinion-juniper.  It seems to me that growing in full sun means, in most years, conditions will be too dry for P. confusus to flower.  But on a rare wet year these that grow in full sun might flower more than those in shade can ever flower.  That’s my theory.

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mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, W foothills, Hurricane Cliffs, Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, W foothills, Hurricane Cliffs, Iron Co, UT

Looks like this species likes red sand as substrate, too.

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mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, white-throated variant, W foothills, Hurricane Cliffs, Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, white-throated variant, W foothills, Hurricane Cliffs, Iron Co, UT

Notice the longer, pointier petals, and the white throats of this plant’s flowers.  This was the only odd variant I saw among dozens here of the usual ones.

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mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, E foothills, Pine Valley Mtns, Washington Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, E foothills, Pine Valley Mtns, Washington Co, UT

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mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, W Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon confusus, W Antelope Range, Iron Co, UT

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late May 2011, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range (a), Millard Co, UT

late May 2011, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range (a), Millard Co, UT

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late May 2011, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range (b), Millard Co, UT

late May 2011, Penstemon confusus, Confusion Range (b), Millard Co, UT

These growing in the Confusions have flowers with bolder guidelines than those of this species I’ve seen elsewhere.

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late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (a), Grand Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (a), Grand Co, UT

Late May on an average year is past peak bloom for this population here.  But I took some shots since I’d never photoed this species before.

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late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (b), Grand Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (b), Grand Co, UT

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late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (c), Grand Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon utahensis, Moab area (c), Grand Co, UT

Okay, take a look at this shot.  What is odd about it? Something is special.  See it?

Count the petals.  Penstemon flowers are supposed to have two on the top and three on the bottom.  I photoed my first six-petaled Penstemon flower here.  As a child I used to look at clover plants in search of a four-leaved clover I never found.  But I can say I’ve found a six-petaled Penstemon, woo-hoo.

Maybe six petals is fairly common in this population?

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Shown here are 3 of the species of Penstemon I photographed across these 3 seasons.  1 of these species I had not photographed before–linarioides.

I’ve separated my flowering Penstemon shots from 2010-2012 into 3 posts.  This post covers bluish-flowered and short-stemmed species.  At least they are shorter than the 8 species in the preceding post.

The 3 species shown in this post are:

linarioides
dolius
humilis

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mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, N of Central (a), Pine Valley Mtns area, Washington Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, N of Central (a), Pine Valley Mtns area, Washington Co, UT

It was a treat here to encounter this species new for me.  Flowering nearby were Eriogonum caespitosum–which was also a new species for me to photograph.

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mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, N of Central, (b) Pine Valley Mtns area, Washington Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, N of Central, (b) Pine Valley Mtns area, Washington Co, UT

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mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, Antelope Range (a), Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, Antelope Range (a), Iron Co, UT

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mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, Antelope Range (b), Iron Co, UT

mid June 2010, Penstemon linarioides, Antelope Range (b), Iron Co, UT

This shows the habitat of P. linarioides.  At a spot near here I noticed 5 species of Penstemon growing within 10m of each other–linarioides, humilis, rostriflorus, confusus & palmeri.

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mid June 2011, Penstemon dolius, N of Drum Mtns (a), Juab Co, UT

mid June 2011, Penstemon dolius, N of Drum Mtns (a), Juab Co, UT

In 2011 Utah had above-average winter & spring precipitation.  That resulted in the flowers on these P. dolius.  It took me awhile to identify these, since the leaf shape tended a bit different than the only other P. dolius I’d ever seen–in a different valley NW of these.  It also threw me off that these grew in a county where the species had not been documented before.  But I think the leaf appearance is within that of P. dolius, and the flowers surely look like P. dolius.  So I conclude these are P. dolius, and this population would constitute a county record if I had been able to collect and submit to an herbarium a voucher.  Later I obtained a museum-voucher collection permit from the BLM, but in June 2012 when I returned to this area I found no flowers at all on these plants–as a result of the poor 2012 precipitation.  So this county-record population remains undocumented, as far as I know.

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mid June 2011, Penstemon dolius, N of Drum Mtns (b), Juab Co, UT

mid June 2011, Penstemon dolius, N of Drum Mtns (b), Juab Co, UT

See the nondescript dry valley habitat of P. dolius…during a wetter-than-average year.

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The remainder of this post covers P. humilis.

For quite awhile I could not confidently distinguish P. humilis from P. leonardii var. leonardii.  But now I think I can be clear about that distinction, and it turns out I’ve stumbled onto & photographed P. humilis in many places.

P. humilis is comfortable in part-shade.  However, it can occur in full sun.

mid April 2010, Penstemon humilis, Manning Cyn area, SE Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

mid April 2010, Penstemon humilis, Manning Cyn area, SE Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

Following this photo, snow would have covered this plant several times before winter completely ended.  Yet, here in mid April it is in the process of adding new growth in its tight rosettes of leaves.

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early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, SW Stansbury Mtns (a), Tooele Co, UT

early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, SW Stansbury Mtns (a), Tooele Co, UT

This P. humilis plant was unusual.  It was growing in full sun and was the tallest and broadest plant with the most flowers of any P. humilis I’ve seen.  Here in low light near dusk, my camera accentuates blue tint.

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early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, SW Stansbury Mtns (b), Tooele Co, UT

early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, SW Stansbury Mtns (b), Tooele Co, UT

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early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, Ophir Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns (a), Tooele Co, UT

early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, Ophir Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns (a), Tooele Co, UT

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early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, Ophir Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns (b), Tooele Co, UT

early June 2010, Penstemon humilis, Ophir Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns (b), Tooele Co, UT

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late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (a), Millard Co, UT

late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (a), Millard Co, UT

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late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (b), Millard Co, UT

late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (b), Millard Co, UT

In this hollow’s pinion-juniper shade, most P. humilis plants with this many basal leaves had sent up stems with a few flowers earlier this year.  But this plant had not.

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late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (c), Millard Co, UT

late June 2010, Penstemon humilis, South House Range (c), Millard Co, UT

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late Aug 2010, Penstemon humilis, Little Cottonwood Cyn area, Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

late Aug 2010, Penstemon humilis, Little Cottonwood Cyn area, Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

This P. humilis grows at the highest elevation I’ve found the species.  I need to check, but I know this plant’s higher than 9,000 ft.  Maybe some July I should return to view this plant’s flowers & verify they appear to be classic P. humilis flowers.

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late Sept 2010, Penstemon humilis, W San Pitch Mtns, Juab Co, UT

late Sept 2010, Penstemon humilis, W San Pitch Mtns, Juab Co, UT

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mid June 2011, Penstemon humilis, E Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

mid June 2011, Penstemon humilis, E Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

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late June 2011, Penstemon humilis, E San Pitch Mtns, Sanpete Co, UT

late June 2011, Penstemon humilis, E San Pitch Mtns, Sanpete Co, UT

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early July 2011, Penstemon humilis, Silverado Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

early July 2011, Penstemon humilis, Silverado Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

These plants were growing right next to some Penstemon cyananthus.

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mid June 2012, Penstemon humilis, Mercur Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

mid June 2012, Penstemon humilis, Mercur Cyn area, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

The tan seed bracts and flower stems here are leftovers from the previous year.  See the absence of green ones.  In 2012 this patch of plants produced no flowers (& therefore no seed), due to very low precipitation in early 2012.  Elevation here is around 6,100 ft.

After months of below-average precipitation, plants at higher elevation are more likely to flower than lower-elevation plants of the same species.  Higher elevations receive more precipitation and dry out less.

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