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Penstemon utahensis

Penstemon utahensis

Penstemon utahensis (Utah Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Spring.
Above: Cross Canyon April, 2014 &
Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, March 13, 2015.
Left: McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, April 27, 2005.

Even before flowering, Penstemon utahensis can be recognized by its thick, elongated basal leaves and red-tinted stems. When flowers appear, one can spot Penstemon utahensis even from a distance by its unusual shade of hot red-pink and its habit of growing in large colonies on hot dry slopes. 

A closer inspection reveals other distinguishing characteristics: its flowers are almost always horizontal  (perpendicular to its stems, not drooping) and the five flanges of its deep flower (the corolla lobes) are flattened in one plane perpendicular to the tube.  One does not have to bend and twist to see Penstemon utahensis; the flower lips brightly face you.

Alice Eastwood collected this plant near Monticello, Utah in 1892 and she described and named it in 1893.

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Click to read about Penstemons.

Penstemon utahensis (Utah Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, April 27, 2005.

Penatemon utahensis
Penstemon utahensis (Utah Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)
 

Semi-desert. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, April 16, 2012.

Penstemon utahensis (Utah Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, March 27, 2005.

All Penstemon utahensis leaves are thick and rolled inward; stem leaves are nearly vertical. 

Basal rosettes of many Penstemon species over-winter and they can be seen on winter hikes.

Penstemon utahensis (Utah Penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Semi-desert. Canyons, openings, shrublands. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, April 27, 2005.

Penstemon utahensis seed pods.

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

Range map for Penstemon utahensis