Penstemons, nonflowering, 2010-2012

February 22, 2013

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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