Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: White to pinkish lavender, with reddish purple nectar guides.
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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 DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
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 palmeri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon palmeri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon palmeri
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff