Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Busy, busy, busy....

The past few weeks have been very busy for me. I was in Phoenix for the American Association of Woodturners symposium. I did the photography for the event and have been posting the AAW archive photos to the AAW Facebook page as well as my own. You can find the link to my FB page in the sidebar of this blog.

I'm also working on a lot of research for my presentations next month at the Botany2014 meeting, which will be useful for a grant proposal I'm submitting before I leave for the meeting. Along those lines, I've been processing a lot of photos from my trip to Utah last month for the American Penstemon Society meeting.

One of the more unusual species of Penstemon is P. ambiguus. We saw P. ambiguus var. laevissiumus in eastern Utah, and I have to say that the flower of this species is totally atypical for the genus. Back in 1963 Richard Straw published a paper on the pollination of this species. It had been hypothesized that it was pollinated by butterflies because of its strong resemblance to Phlox. However, Straw reported that it is pollinated by bombylid flies (bee flies).

It's truly one of my favorite species of Penstemon.  The flowers are relatively small and delicate and the habit is a small shrub scattered about desert dunes or among sagebrush.

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.....