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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lizards, 2012

January 6, 2013

I suppose my time spent on lizard photography decreased a bit during 2012, and I paused to shoot specimens mostly when it was easy to.

Most of these are collared lizards.  Until I got out into their habitat more, I considered this a less familiar species.  I think it’s familiar now.

great basin collared liz, small adult male, Confusions

late April 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), small adult male, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

This one was basking on a rock in the middle of a dry wash.  Late April is probably the earliest I’ve seen this species.  I had been to the same area on a warm weekend in late March 2012, and the western fence and sideblotch lizards were out then, but I did not see a collared lizard that early.

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great basin collared liz, subadult, Confusions

mid May 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), subadult, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

I lean toward calling this specimen a young female, based on its pattern; but I got no closer than this shot and am not sure, so I’ll call it a “subadult.”

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habitat of great basin collared liz, subadult, Confusions

mid May 2012, habitat of great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), subadult, Confusion Range, Millard Co, UT

I found it here on this grassier, N-facing side of the canyon, where the smaller lizard species it preys on seem less dense than on the S-facing slope and in the canyon bottom.

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

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

I came upon this old male perched like this, facing down this W-facing slope in the late morning.

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Different shot of specimen above:

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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Different shot of specimen above:

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

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

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western fence liz, subadult on pinion, Oquirrhs

mid June 2012, western fence liz (Sceloporus occidentalis), subadult on singleleaf pinion trunk, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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great basin collared liz, scrawny juvenile (a), Oquirrhs

mid June 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), scrawny juvenile (a), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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Different shot of specimen above:

great basin collared liz, scrawny juvenile (b), Oquirrhs

mid June 2012, great basin collared liz (Crotaphytus bicintores), scrawny juvenile (b), W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

Of all this post’s specimens, this scrawny little collared lizard is the most significant for me.  It’s my first of its species I’ve seen in the Oquirrh Mtns.  If you had asked me before seeing this one, I would have said the species probably did not occur in this area, since I’d spent enough time there to see five other lizard species but not collared lizard.  But now, no longer will I arrogantly presume collared lizards do not live in the Oquirrh Mtns–although perhaps at fairly low density.  I still have not come across either of Utah’s horned lizard species along the Oquirrhs, but maybe I’ll see one of them someday.

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eastern fence liz, adult male, E of Cedar City

late June 2012, eastern fence liz (Sceloporus undulatus), adult male, E of Cedar City, Cedar Cyn area, Iron Co, UT

This guy had plentiful small black ticks under scales along his neck.  2012 was the season I learned to notice small black ticks on fence lizards in places other than the depression behind the ears.  That depression is where such ticks can grow quite large.  Smaller blackish ticks can occur all along the dorsum, and you can spot them by looking for protrusions in the pattern of the outer scales.  Ticks on fence lizards are more common than I used to think.

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sagebrush liz, adult, Oquirrhs

early July 2012, sagebrush liz (Sceloporus graciosus), adult, W Oquirrh Mtns, Tooele Co, UT

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