Penstemon strictus Benth.
Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Rocky Mountain Beardtongue
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
Synonym(s): Penstemon strictus ssp. angustus
USDA Symbol: PEST2
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Purple to violet or blue, with violet nectar guides.
DistributionUSA: AZ , CO , NM , UT , WY
Native Distribution: S. WY to n. NM & n.e. AZ
Native Habitat: Subalpine to valley sagebrush & conifer forests
Growing ConditionsWater 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 InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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 DirectoryAccording 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 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 strictus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon strictus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon strictus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff