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Penstemon heterophyllus (Bunchleaf penstemon)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Penstemon heterophyllus

Penstemon heterophyllus Lindl.

Bunchleaf Penstemon, Bunchleaf Beardtongue, Foothill Penstemon, Foothill Beardtongue

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: pehe3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A small, shrub-like perennial, evergreen in mild climates, with a low, neat habit, 1-5 ft. high. Showy multitudes of 1 in., blue to violet or purple flowers bloom among dark-green foliage.

More adaptable to garden conditions than most dryland penstemons; quite drought and heat tolerant.


From the Image Gallery

1 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: Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


Native Distribution: Coast Ranges from Humboldt to San Diego Cos., CA
Native Habitat: Dry hillsides below 5500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: More adaptable to garden conditions than most dryland penstemons. Quite drought and heat tolerant. A second flowering can be induced by trimming the flowering heads after flowering.

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 by seed sown in fall.
Seed Treatment: Germination is best with cold-moist stratification but it is not necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
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 heterophyllus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon heterophyllus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon heterophyllus


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

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