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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Penstemon spectabilis Thurb. ex Gray
Showy penstemon, Showy beardtongue, Royal penstemon
USDA Symbol: pesp3
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This is an extremely showy perennial. Its leafy stems rise to 3 ft. and bear a spectacular display of up to 100 flowers on the upper half of the stem. The inflated, tubular flowers range in color from lavender-purple to pink. The two rounded lobes of the upper lip and the three lobes of the lower lip are usually blue, while the inside of the flower is white. Pairs of bright-green, toothed leaves clasp the stem.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
CA Native Distribution:
Cismontane slopes in s. CA Native Habitat:
Dry washes & disturbed areas below 6000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Overwatered plants are susceptible to root rot. This species often self-seeds.
Propagation by stem
cuttings and root division is possible but seed is the easiest method. Plant in spring. Division should be in the fall; softwood cutting should be taken in summer. Seed Collection:
Not Available Seed Treatment:
Germination is best with cold-moist stratification but no treatment may give satisfactory results. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff