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Penstemon palmeri (Palmer's penstemon)
Pyle, Lynn

Penstemon palmeri

Penstemon palmeri A. Gray

Palmer's Penstemon, Palmer's Beardtongue, Scented Penstemon, Scented Beardtongue

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: PEPA8

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is one of the few fragrant penstemons. Its sub-woody, branched stems bear oblong, grayish leaves which ascend the stalk in fused pairs. A few sparsely-leaved, erect, stout stems have swollen white to reddish-pink bilaterally symmetrical flowers mostly turned to one side in a long, narrow cluster. Flower spikes can reach 4-5 ft. in height.

This is one of the most delightful species of Penstemon. Its cheery puffed-up flowers are exquisitely fragrant.


From the Image Gallery

23 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: White to pinkish lavender, with reddish purple nectar guides.


USA: AZ , CA , ID , NM , NV , UT
Native Distribution: S. CA to AZ & UT
Native Habitat: Washes & rocky areas in desert mts. & grasslands; 3500 to 6500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.

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 Treatment: Germination is best with cold-moist stratification but it is not necessary. It has been shown that germination is greatly enhanced with GA3.
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
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

Web Reference

Webref 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 resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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