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Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)

General: Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus) is a low rounded, shrub growing to about 6 inches tall and up to 24 inches across. The leaves are stiff, thick, folded, and strongly notched. Purple tubular flowers are produced in the spring and early summer.

Petiolate Beardtongue is an uncommon component of limestone cliff vegetation communities in the lower mountains in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.

Around Las Vegas, look for this species in limestone crevices in places like Pee-a-boo Canyon on the Desert National Wildlife Range and on Virgin Mountain out in the Gold Butte Region.

Family: Figwort (Scrophulariaceae). Recent genetic research suggests that Penstemon should be included in the Plantaginaceae.

Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)

Other Names: Lime penstemon, Sheep Range beardtongue, crevice penstemon, Penstemon calcareous.

Plant Form: Low-growing, mounded subshrub.

Height: To about 6 inches.

Bark: Short, gnarled with age.

Stems: Branching.

Leaves: Dentate (notched), to about 1-1/4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, broadly ovate, tip acute, petiolate, glacuous (covered with fine waxy powder that rubs off).

Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)

Flowers: Blooms in spring. Inflorescence: cyme with 1-4 flowers. Flowers tubular, bilaterally symmetrical. Tube about 1/2 inch long, terminal lobes spreading, magenta with dark violet lines inside, glandular. Palate bearded with yellowish hairs; staminode slightly exserted with short yellow hairs.


Habitat: Crevices in limestone cliffs in the lower mountains.

Elevation: About 2,000 to 6,000 ft.

Distribution: Nevada to Utah and Arizona.

Comments: This rare plant is endemic to the eastern Mojave Desert.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
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