Page author: David Giblin
Penstemon fruticosus
bush penstemon, shrubby penstemon

Distribution: Occurring chiefly east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia south to Oregon, east to Montana and Wyoming.

Habitat: Common in rocky, open or wooded areas, foothills to rather high elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Bushy-branched, ascending or erect shrubs, the stems 1.5-4 dm. tall, glabrous except for the stalked glands in the inflorescence.


Leaves opposite, the larger leaves crowded toward the base of the season\\\'s growth on short, sterile shoots, the blades entire or toothed, up to 6 cm. long and 1.5 cm. wide, short-petiolate; flowering shoots with reduced and less-crowded leaves.


Inflorescence a short, few-flowered, bracteate raceme, with simple, axillary pedicels; calyx 7-15 mm. long, with 5 lanceolate, long-acuminate segments; corolla blue-lavender to light purplish, 30-50 mm. long, 1 cm. wide at the mouth, keeled on the back, glabrous outside, with long, white hairs on the base of the lower lip within; anthers long-woolly, the pollen sacs wholly dehiscent and opening wide enough to form a plane; staminode slender, shorter than the 4 fertile filaments, long-bearded toward the tip.


Capsules 8-12 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Penstemon fruticosus (Pursh) Greene

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
var. fruticosus – shrubby penstemon    East of the Cascade summits, British Columbia to Oregon, east to Montana and Wyoming, except for the Selkirk, Blue amd Wallowa Mountains
var. scouleri – shrubby penstemon
var. serratus – shrubby penstemon    Mountains near the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, Oregon and Washington
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Penstemon fruticosus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Penstemon fruticosus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Penstemon fruticosus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Penstemon fruticosus photos.

USDA Plants: Penstemon fruticosus information.

100 photographs:
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