Penstemon fruticosus (Pursh) Greene
Bush Penstemon, Bush Beardtongue, Shrubby Penstemon, Shrubby Beardtongue
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
USDA Symbol: PEFR3
This is a low, compact, shrubby, semi-evergreen perennial with pairs of dark-green leaves, some of which turn reddish in the fall before dropping. A bushy plant, usually much broader than tall, with large, showy, pale lavender or pale blue-violet, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in crowded, narrow clusters at stem ends. Tubular rose-purple to lavender flowers extend horizontally in short, spike-like clusters. The entire plant is 6-16 in. tall.
In a genus with many beautiful species, this one may be the most spectacular. Bright green, leafy patches cascade down banks and between rocks, topped with a dense display of subtly shaded flowers that butterflies seem to find especially attractive.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: ID , MT , OR , WA , WY
Native Distribution: E. of the Cascade summits from s. B.C. to c. OR, e. to the Rockies of MT & WY
Native Habitat: Open, rocky or wooded foothill & higher elevation sites
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soil.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Hummingbirds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Propagation by cuttings is quite easy. Seeds germinate without treatment, but yield is low. Young seedling tend to damp off.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Penstemon fruticosus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon fruticosus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon fruticosus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff