WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

With a variety of flower colors, this 8–32-inch tall plant has erect stems with flowers along one side. Blooms vary from deep-purple to light-blue or lavender to pink or white. Note the minutely hairy or hairless stems, the hairless, inflated flower tube with red guidelines, and hairless, white staminode (beardtongue).


FLOWERS: June–September. Spike-like along one side of stem with tight clusters of 2–5 flowers, each 5/8–1-inch (15–28 mm) long, inflated throat with red guidelines especially noticeable on white flowers; upper lip projects forward with upturned lobes; lower lip bends downwards with 3 lobes, often with a few white hairs scattered along the base; stamens hairless; staminode (sterile stamen) white, hairless, tip slightly dilated.


LEAVES: Basal leaves present at blooming. Stem blades opposite, sessile (no stems), linear to narrowly lance-shaped, 5/8–1 1/2-inches long (15–25 mm), 1/8–3/8-inch wide (3–10 mm), margins entire, surface minutely hairy.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, clay soils, roadsides, mountain meadows; pinyon-juniper, ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 6,100–9,500 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The widespread var. virgatus has minutely hairy foliage; var. asa-grayi, uncommon in the no. mountains, has smooth hairless foliage. The rare New Mexico Penstemon, P. neomexicanus, in the Sacramento Mts., has larger flowers with more hair on the lower lobes and smooth, hairless stems and leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread in mountainous of western 2/3 of NM in mid-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Grant, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Sierra, Socorro,Taos, Torrance, Valencia.

WAND-BLOOM  PENSTEMON

PENSTEMON  VIRGATUS

Plantain Family, Plantaginaceae (formerly in Scrophulariaceae)

Perennial herb

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Look for these three characteristics:

  1. 1.Inflated flower tube (upper arrow)

  2. 2. Flower exterior hairless (upper arrow)

  3. 3. Hairless white staminode with inflated tip (lower arrow)

Basal leaves and opposite stem leaves are linear to lance-shaped, often folded, and with  smooth to minutely hairy surfaces depending on variety.

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