Shown here are 7 of the species of Penstemon I photographed across these 3 years.  6 of these taxa I had not photographed before.

I decided to separate my flowering Penstemon shots from 2010-2012 into 3 posts.  This post’s species are bluish-flowered and tall.  The next post’s will be bluish-flowered and short.  And then the following post will cover red and pink -flowered species.

The 7 taxa shown in this post are:

sepalulus
rydbergii
watsonii
cyananthus
longiflorus
comarrhenus
cyanocaulis

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late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (a), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (a), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

I knew what these were when I first saw them growing here.  I’d seen nonflowering P. sepalulus once before, a bit farther N in Utah Co.  This species is like a southern version of P. platyphyllus, with narrower leaves & similar flowers.

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late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (b), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (b), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

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late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (c), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (c), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

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late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (d), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

late July 2011, Penstemon sepalulus (d), Wasatch Mtns, Utah Co, UT

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mid July 2010, Penstemon rydbergii, Strawberry Reservoir area, Wasatch Mtns, Wasatch Co, UT

mid July 2010, Penstemon rydbergii, Strawberry Reservoir area, Wasatch Mtns, Wasatch Co, UT

This is my only photo so far of P. rydbergii.  Mid July is the end of this species’ usual flowering period.  Maybe I’ll photo one in mid-bloom stage, someday.  This species grows in grassier areas than the other Penstemon species I’ve shown.

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early Aug 2010, Penstemon watsonii (a), South Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

early Aug 2010, Penstemon watsonii (a), South Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

In western UT & E NV, if you walk up some range’s slopes & search in sun-dried areas near sagebrush, you can find some P. watsonii such as this.

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early Aug 2010, Penstemon watsonii (b), South Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

early Aug 2010, Penstemon watsonii (b), South Snake Range, White Pine Co, NV

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mid Aug 2010, Penstemon cyananthus, Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

mid Aug 2010, Penstemon cyananthus, Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

When I took this shot I was not sure what species I was looking at.  I thought it might be P. leonardi var. leonardii, since I thought it was at elevation too high for P. cyananthus.  Plus this plant’s leaves look narrow for cyananthus.  But the flower looks cyananthus, and certainly is not leonardii since leonardii has black anthers rather than the tan/white anthers of cyananthus here.  Now I have realized P. cyananthus can tend to have narrower leaves when it grows at higher elevation.  Notice the Monardella glauca flowering in the background…a sign of the high elevation here, which is around 9,500 ft.

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early July 2011, Penstemon cyananthus (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

early July 2011, Penstemon cyananthus (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

There’s some P. cyananthus in the Oquirrh Mtns, just like there’s plenty of it in the Wasatch on the other side of the Salt Lake Valley.

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early July 2011, Penstemon cyananthus (b), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

early July 2011, Penstemon cyananthus (b), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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

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

This species, P. longiflorus, is a southern version of P. cyananthus.  To me, longiflorus is probably not different enough to be considered a separate species.  What do you think?

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

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

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early July 2010, Penstemon longiflorus (c), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon longiflorus (c), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

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

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

When I stumbled onto my first patch of this species new to me, I did not know what I was looking at & figured it out later.  It grows amid taller plant neighbors than other Penstemons.

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

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

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early July 2010, Penstemon comarrhenus (c), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon comarrhenus (c), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

Notice this species’ long, narrow leaves & tall stems.

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early July 2010, Penstemon comarrhenus (d), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

early July 2010, Penstemon comarrhenus (d), S Mineral Mtns, Beaver Co, UT

This species’ name could reference whales, couldn’t it? Instead, “comarrhenus” refers to the unusual white hairiness on the anthers.  This can be seen on my first two shots, above here.

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late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (a), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (a), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

This species was new to me when I took these shots.  Notice the (out-of-focus) wavy edges on the basal leaves in the shot below.  That’s uncommon for Penstemons, and was important to my identification of this species.

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late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (b), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (b), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

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late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (c), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (c), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

This patch included plants with flowers of 3 main different color shades, and I’m showing those 3 shades here (even though the shot above of the lightest one is out of focus).

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late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (d), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

late May 2010, Penstemon cyanocaulis (d), W foothills of La Sal Mtns, San Juan Co, UT

Luck was not with me, as I was trying to photo this P. cyanocaulis.  They were at a great stage for catching their flowers, but the sunlight was very bright so that my shots were either too bright or too shaded.  Maybe I’ll be back in that area again someday when the light is better?

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Watch for more bluish-flowered Penstemons in the next post.

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Now it’s time for some posts of plants.  Penstemon is a genus I’ve paid attention to since 2007.  Photos of its species will comprise this post and the following three posts.  During 2007-2009 I photographed 11 of Utah’s ~66 species in this genus, as I summarized in my post published Feb 25, 2010.

When I became certain recently that a photo in that post I had labeled P. leonardi var. leonardii is actually P. humilis, then I edited that earlier Penstemon post to reflect that correction.

During 2010-2012 I photographed for my first time 9 Penstemon species in Utah & Nevada.  I’ll show photos of all 9 here in these 4 posts, and I’ll also include more shots of 7 of the previously photographed 11 species.

Here, this first new Penstemon post will cover 2 taxa I’ve now photographed but did not find during 2010-2012 when they were in flower: pachyphyllus and leonardii var. patricus.

So this post lacks flowers; but there will be plenty of pretty flower shots in the subsequent 3 Penstemon posts.

For shots of flowering P. leonardii var. patricus, see my earlier post published Feb 25, 2010.

This post is important, I think, because here I point out that its two species occur in a Utah mountain range where I believe neither has been previously documented: the Confusion Range.

Part of my reason for this post is I hope others might be inspired to notice and document plant species in remote areas where professional botanists have not yet noticed they occur.  If I can do this, others can too.

Once again, these are the 2 Penstemon species in this post:

pachyphyllus
leonardii var. patricus

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Penstemon pachyphyllus, Confusions

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

When I came across this as I walked along a dry gravel wash, I was unsure what I was looking at.  I thought it might be P. pachyphyllus, but I only saw one plant.  From then on, when walking in the Confusion Range I kept an eye open for Penstemon species in addition to the P. eatonii, confusus & humilis that are fairly easy to find there.  It turned out I did not see another one of these Confusion Range P. pachyphyllus until two seasons later.

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Penstemon pachyphyllus w P. eatonii (a), Confusions

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

Here is where I found another P. pachyphyllus.  Once again it was growing in a limestone gravel wash.

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Same specimen shown above:

Penstemon pachyphyllus w P. eatonii (b), Confusions

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

The P. pachyphyllus plant is on the right, and to its left (with the reddish stems snipped by some grazing animal, like a deer) is a P. eatonii plant.

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Same specimen shown above:

Penstemon pachyphyllus w P. eatonii (c), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon pachyphyllus (c) with Penstemon eatonii, pachyphyllus alone, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Here’s a closeup of the pachyphyllus.

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Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon pachyphyllus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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Penstemon pachyphyllus (b), Confusions

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

Here, as I continued up the wash I found several more P. pachyphyllus.  Notice how variable their leaf shapes can be.

I’m confident this species is pachyphyllus rather than the closely related P. immanifestus because a) the basal leaves include some that are sharp-tipped, b) the size suggests that most flowering stems surpass the ~30-cm maximum of the shorter-stemmed immanifestus, and c) these grow in gravel as generally described for pachyphyllus, rather than the sand characteristic of immanifestus.

Perhaps someday I’ll visit the Confusion Range during flowering of these P. pachyphyllus plants and obtain photos of their flowers.

Also, perhaps someday I’ll come across P. immanifestus too and understand better those two species’ differences.

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The remainder of this post covers Penstemon leonardii var. patricus.

Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, Deep Creeks

late Aug 2010, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, quartzite shelf, Deep Creek Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

I had seen this species growing & flowering in this canyon during a previous year.  August is too late in the year to still find a flower.

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Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, N House

early Sept 2011, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, Northern House Range, Millard Co, UT

Prior to finding these growing on limestone ledges, I had only known this species from the House Range in the Southern House.  But here I learned it occurs in the Northern House also.

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Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, parent (a), Confusions

late April 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus parent plant (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Prior to taking this photo’s excursion, I wondered whether this Penstemon species I’d known from the nearby House & Deep Creek ranges might also occur in the Confusion Range.  Habitat seemed appropriate.  When I came across this just past nightfall I knew what I was looking at & was glad to notice this species in a range where it had not been documented previously.  The funny thing was I had walked up & down this canyon during a previous year but failed to notice this old plant then.  This time I found it plus several small plants (presumably its progeny) just downstream from it.  Its tan & dried flower stems shown here are the previous year’s–2011’s.

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Same specimen shown above:

Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, parent (b), Confusions

late April 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus parent plant (b), closer, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, young, Confusions

late April 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus, young plant, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (a), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (a), Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Later during 2012, while walking in a different Confusion Range canyon, I came across more P. leonardii var. patricus.  This is a solitary old plant growing in limestone rocks.

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Same specimen shown above:

Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (b), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (b), closer, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

2012 was very dry in winter and spring.  This plant had borne no flowers in 2012.  The brown seed heads you see here are leftovers from 2011.

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Same specimen shown above:

Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (c), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (c), previous year’s flowerheads close-up, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

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Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (d), Confusions

early Sept 2012, Penstemon leonardii var. patricus (d), up-canyon plant’s current year’s flowerheads, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

Farther up the canyon, I found more of this species, including this plant that was the only one possessing any 2012-season flower heads.  It had produced a little good seed in 2012.

I suppose I’ll comment here that it strikes me as silly that P. leonardii var. patricus is considered, at least by some, to be a variant within P. leonardii rather than its own species.  Seems to me it is surely different enough that it should be its own species–Penstemon patricus, perhaps?

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lizards in-hand, 2011-2012

February 20, 2013

From these 2 seasons, here are a few shots of 4 hand-held lizards.  Shots of them held like this allow noticing some of their sex-specific characteristics and some external parasites.  The last 3 of these specimens have been shown in a previous post, and one previously posted shot of each of those is repeated here.

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western fence liz, adult female (a), Oquirrhs

early April 2011, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), adult female (a), dorsal, SE Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

The dorsal coloration of this lizard lacks bluish spangles.  In my experience such spangles appear on most adult males of this species, but not adult females.

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Same specimen as above:

western fence liz, adult female (b), Oquirrhs

early April 2011, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), adult female (b), ventral, SE Oquirrh Mtns, Utah Co, UT

Note the lack of enlarged postanal scales below the vent of this western fence lizard.  That means it’s a female–despite the rather bright orange, black & blue coloration in its ventral pattern.

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desert horned liz, adult male in sagebrush (b), House

mid May 2011, desert horned liz (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), adult male in sagebrush (b), unobscured, South House Range, Millard Co, UT

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Same specimen as above:

desert horned liz, adult male in sagebrush (c), House

mid May 2011, desert horned liz (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), adult male in sagebrush (c), ventral, South House Range, Millard Co, UT

I was hiking with a state fish biologist who had never seen this species before, and he was glad to hold it for this photo.  Note the scarring on this specimen.  Some predator had apparently attacked him, but he had survived.

This desert horned lizard was found among the sagebrush in the bottom of a steep-walled canyon, up at about 7,000 ft elevation.  It was a surprise to find this species up this high–now the highest elevation I’ve seen it.  No longer will I arrogantly presume desert horned lizards fail to reach 7,000 ft.

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sagebrush liz, small adult male, Oquirrhs

early Sept 2011, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), small adult male, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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Same specimen as above:

sagebrush liz, small adult male, anterior ventral, Oquirrhs

early Sept 2011, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), small adult male, anterior ventral, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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Same specimen as above:

sagebrush liz, small adult male, posterior ventral, Oquirrhs

early Sept 2011, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), small adult male, posterior ventral, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

The bluish color on this sagebrush lizard’s ventral neck & abdomen, along with its enlarged postanal scales, signify it’s a male.  If it were an older male then this bluish color would be darker.  If it were a female then it would have none of this bluish ventral color.

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great basin collared liz, old adult male (b), Fish Springs

late May 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), old adult male (b), Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

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Same specimen as above:

great basin collared liz, male, mites, Fish Springs

late May 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), old adult male with orange mites, Fish Springs Range, Juab Co, UT

This great basin collared lizard was the first of its species on which I’ve noticed orange mites.  I presume these are the same orange mites I’ve noticed before on sideblotch, western fence and sagebrush lizards.  As I’ve seen with those other lizard species, here the mites are not in the ear but rather the depression posterior to the ear.

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