Tuesday, June 03, 2014


I've spent my career studying a very interesting genus of plants that is native to North America. It's the genus Penstemon, which has the common name "Beardtongue."  From this photo of Penstemon palmeri, you should understand why....

Penstemon palmeri ©2014 Andi Wolfe
Penstemon is the largest genus of plants that is found only in North America, having nearly 300 species. The diversity is amazing with some flowers being shorter than half an inch, and others, such as P. palmeri, having flowers a couple of inches long and nearly as wide. Some species form short mats, carpeting a hillside with tiny leaves but very large flowers. Others are brilliant red and pollinated by hummingbirds.

Am I totally smitten by this genus? Why, yes, of course I am.....

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