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Penstemon linarioides
Penstemon linarioides subspecies coloradoensis (Narrow-leaf Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Spring, summer. 
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 8, 2004.

This tiny Penstemon typically grows in one foot diameter circular patches, primarily in the dry soils of the Pinyon-Juniper and Ponderosa  communities, but it will grow to several feet in diameter and ten inches tall if it receives good moisture -- as it did in 2005.  Flowers are about a half inch long, often profuse, and always a very lovely pale lavender.  It is common to see hundreds of these plants in bloom along the Prater Ridge Trail of Mesa Verde National Park and they are quite common in similar habitats in the Four Corners area.

Compare Penstemon linarioides with Penstemon caespitosus.

William Weber indicates that the species name refers to the similarity of the leaves of Linarioides to the leaves of Linaria which in turn has its name because of similarities with Linum (Flax).  And all of this is from the Latin "lin", a "line", i.e., they all have somewhat similar linear leaves.

The plant was first collected for science by Charles Wright in New Mexico in 1851-1852 and was named by Asa Gray in 1858.

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides subspecies coloradoensis (Narrow-leaf Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 8, 2004.

Flowers are delicate shades of lavenders, whites, and purples. Notice the gleaming glandular hairs, somewhat visible along the floral tube in the second photograph at left and very obvious in the third at left and second below.

In the photograph below, notice the straight, white, narrow tube encircled by four other white tubes (Two of the four tubes are easily visible; the other two are deep in the flower and visible inside the loops of the front two.) These are the five stamens. The straight one (called a staminode) is infertile. Notice that its tip (in the sunshine) is a bit hairy but the rest is almost glabrous.

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides

 

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides

Penstemon linarioides subspecies coloradoensis (Narrow-leaf Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Spring, summer.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, June 19, 2005.

This unusual albino Penstemon linarioides grew among the multitude of P. linarioides in the incredibly massive blooming of 2005.

The last photograph shows several characteristics of P. linarioides flowers: the calyx is glandular-hairy; the narrow floral tube emerges narrow from the calyx but it quickly enlarges to a bell-shaped throat; and then flares open at the limb with large lobes. Stamens reach or project beyond the corolla opening.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Penstemon linarioides ssp coloradoensis

Range map for Penstemon linarioides ssp. coloradoensis

Range map for Penstemon linarioides