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Penstemon centranthifolius (Scarlet bugler)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Penstemon centranthifolius

Penstemon centranthifolius (Benth.) Benth.

Scarlet Bugler

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: PECE2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The basal leaves of this penstemon, are arrayed on many subwoody branches and are broadly spoon-shaped and gray-green. Few, erect, sparsely leafy stems have bright red, nearly radially symmetrical, tubular flowers in a long, narrow, but open cluster near the top. The stout flowering stalks rise as high as 3 ft. or more with dozens of showy, trumpet-shaped, bright red flowers.

In certain situations this species will produce extensive, nearly solid patches of brilliant red. The nearly radially symmetrical corollas are unusual.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


Native Distribution: Coast Ranges from Lake to San Diego Cos. in CA, south to Baja California and Sonora
Native Habitat: Dry slopes below 6500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate using half-woody cuttings or seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Germination is best with cold-moist stratification but it is not necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Penstemon centranthifolius in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon centranthifolius in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon centranthifolius


Record Modified: 2009-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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