Penstemon elegantulus (Rockvine Penstemon)


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Plant Description: This lovely penstemon has a compact, branched, woody base and few to numerous slender stems. Its foliage is bright green, thick and firm; the surface of the leaves is typically hairy. Basal leaves are lance to spoon-shaped, and up to 4 inches long, including a long petiole (leafstalk); margins are entire or sparingly serrated. Cauline leaves are smaller, narrower and lack petioles. Inflorescence stems present fine hairs right below a spike-like arrangement of flowers. 3-5 whorls of glandular, blue-violet blossoms form each spike. Individual flowers are supported by a pointed calyx and short stalks. The corolla is an extended 2-lipped tube, which is hairy inside and distinctively lobed at the mouth. 

  • Height: 6-15in
  • Width: 1-3ft
  • Watering needs: sparingly
  • Sun needs: full sun
  • Soil needs: rocky
  • Bloom Time: May to June

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: Penstemon elegantulus grows on open, grassy or rocky ridges, as well as on high slopes and open woods. It is an endemic species of northeastern Oregon and northwestern Idaho. It is mainly found on both sides of Hell’s Canyon, overlooking the Snake River. Its delicate flowers provide early summer interest to a rock garden or perennial border.

*Photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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