Penstemons, bluish and short, 2010-2012

March 3, 2013

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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