Page author: David Giblin
Penstemon speciosus
royal beardtongue, showy penstemon

Distribution: East of the Cascades in Washington; Washington south to California, east to Nevada and Utah.

Habitat: Dry, open or sparsely wooded areas, often with sagebrush, juniper or ponderosa pine, mostly in the lowlands and foothills.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from a compact, branched, woody base, the several stout stems 2-9 dm. tall, glabrous or gray-puberulent.


Leaves opposite, entire, thick and firm, the basal ones clustered, petiolate, up to 15 cm. long and 2 cm. wide, the blade oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic; cauline leaves sessile and sometimes clasping, up to 2 cm. wide, 3.5-10 times as long as wide.


Inflorescence of numerous, loose verticillasters, sometimes one-sided; calyx 4-8 mm. long, the 5 segments ovate, scarious margined, pointed; corolla bright blue, 26-38 mm. long, 1 cm. wide at the mouth; pollen sacs 1.9-3.0 mm. long, spreading, S-shaped, mostly glabrous, a short portion remaining indehiscent; staminode usually glabrous.


Capsule 9-12 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Penstemon speciosus Douglas ex Lindl.
Publication: Edwards's Bot. Reg. 15: pl. 1270. 1829.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Penstemon speciosus Douglas ex Lindl. ssp. kennedyi (A. Nelson) D.D. Keck
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Penstemon speciosus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Penstemon speciosus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Penstemon speciosus photos.

USDA Plants: Penstemon speciosus information.

48 photographs:
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