Penstemon palmeri A. Gray
Family: Plantaginaceae
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Max Licher  
General: Perennial, 50-140 cm tall; stems few to several, erect to ascending; herbage glabrous and glaucous; taprooted. Leaves: Basal and cauline, opposite, the basal and lower cauline blades oblong to ovate, 6-10 (14) cm long, 1.3-3 (6) cm wide, the mid cauline blades somewhat smaller, ovate, auriculate clasping, the upper cauline blades usually triangular with broad bases, these usually connate- perfoliate, margins dentate, sometimes the upper blades nearly entire; basal blades petiolate. Flowers: Inflorescence of mostly 5-10 whorls of cymes, these often interrupted along the rachis; cymes 2-5 flowered; calyx 5-7 mm long, up to 8 mm long in fruit, lobes lanceolate to ovate, the margins often membranous, entire, wavy, or irregularly toothed; corolla blue or lavender to violet, rarely pink, 17-20 (23) mm long, moderately expanded, obscurely bilabiate, the lobes of the lips nearly equal, spreading or the upper ones sometimes projecting, top of the lower lip occasionally bearded; staminode slightly exserted, the apex hooked and densely bearded with long, pale brownish yellow hairs; flowers May-July. Fruits: Capsule, 11-16 mm long, glandular-puberulent towards the apex. Ecology: Roadsides, washes, canyons, pinyon-juniper woodlands, ponderosa pine forests; 300-2100 m (1000-7000 ft); Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai counties; southwestern U.S. Notes: The large stature of this species combined with its extremely fragrant flowers (sometimes resembling an overpowering perfume) can aid in field identification. Two varieties can be found in our range and are distinguished as follows: var. eglandulosus has glabrous peduncles, pedicels, and calyces; var. palmeri has glandular-pubescent peduncles, pedicels, and calyces. Penstemon clutei (Sunset Crater beardtongue) has sharply dentate-serrate leaf margins, and a nearly regular corolla, the throat only gradually inflated, pale to deep pink. It is endemic to volcanic cinder fields and craters northeast of Flagstaff (Coconino County) including Sunset Crater National Monument. Penstemon palmeri is widely available as an ornamental and is easily grown from seed, however it attains a shorter stature when grown at higher elevations. It is very drought tolerant and prefers full sun, and is pollinated by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. The Navajo use it to make a poultice for snakebites. Editor: Springer et al. 2008
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Max Licher  
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Frankie Coburn  
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Max Licher  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Max Licher  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Anthony Mendoza  
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