WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

With several stout 20–55-inch tall stems per plant and showy clusters of large pinkish-white flowers, this flower stands out in nature as well as landscapes around the state. Note the dense, one-sided spike of fragrant blooms, the large, inflated throat with a densely hairy yellow beardtongue, and upper leaves that join and surround the stem.


FLOWERS: June–July. Spike-like clusters of glandular-hairy flowers, 1–1 3/8-inch long (25–35 mm) with an inflated, pouch-like throat with dark guidelines; 2 upper petal-like lobes protrude over 4 fertile stamens, and 3 large, rounded lobes bend downward; the staminode (beardtongue) is densely covered with yellow hairs and has a protruding, curved tip.


LEAVES: Opposite. Fleshy, 2–4 3/4-inches long (5–12 cm), 3/4–2-inches wide (2–5 cm), lance-shaped, pointed, margins with (sometimes without) sharp teeth. Upper leaves join and encircle the stem, a distinctive feature.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky soils, roadsides; desert grasslands and scrub, foothills, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,600–6,900 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, UT, WA, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 43 species of Penstemons in NM. Perfoliate Penstemon, P. pseudospectablis, in sw NM, also has united opposite leaves that surround the stem, but has rich, pink flowers with slender tubes. Foxgove, P. cobaea, naturalized in the ne plains, has a similar flower but the staminode is only lightly bearded and the upper leaves clasp but don’t surround the stem.


NM COUNTIES: Western half of NM in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Dona Ana, San Juan, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos.

PALMER’S  PENSTEMON

PENSTEMON  PALMERI

Plantain Family, Plantaginaceae (formerly in Scrophulariaceae)

Perennial herb

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Yellow-hairy beardtongue (the sterile stamen or staminode) extends beyond the flower’s throat .

The flower has an inflated, pouch-like throat – just right for a large-bodied bumblebee pollinator.

Opposite, lance-shaped leaves completely encircle the stem.

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