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Penstemon strictus (Rocky mountain penstemon)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Penstemon strictus

Penstemon strictus Benth.

Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Rocky Mountain Beardtongue

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Synonym(s): Penstemon strictus ssp. angustus

USDA Symbol: PEST2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Rocky Mountain Beardtongue is a 1-3 ft., evergreen perennial with multiple spires of large, royal-blue to purple flowers rising above low mats of foliage. The paired leaves range from narrow and grass-like to broad and lance-shaped depending on the variety. The two lobes of the tubular flowers’ upper lips project forward over the lower lips’ three deeply cut lobes.

Though this penstemon tolerates heavy soils and moisture better than most members of the genus, it prefers dry, light, well-drained soils.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Purple to violet or blue, with violet nectar guides.


USA: AZ , CO , NM , UT , WY
Native Distribution: S. WY to n. NM & n.e. AZ
Native Habitat: Subalpine to valley sagebrush & conifer forests

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Though this penstemon tolerates heavy soils and moisture better than most members of the genus, it prefers dry, light, well-drained 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: Propagation is usually by seed although root division is possible. Barely scratch seeds into the soil in fall. Make root divisions in early spring, making sure each division has at least one bud.
Seed Treatment: Germination is best with cold-moist stratification (2-3 months at 40 degrees).
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:

Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

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


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

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