Penstemon menziesii microphyllus (?)

Submitted by Gene Mirro on Sat, 06/04/2011 - 17:56

Growing on my rock wall in sandy loam soil. Does anyone know how to ID this? I can provide closeups.


Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 06/04/2011 - 22:57

Hi, Gene.  That's a beauty!  No doubt the experts could ID it for you at a glance, but none of them seems to be around right now so...

The American Penstemon Society has a site that has species descriptions:
If you navigate around the site, there are also a couple of keys (although they appear to be specific to species that occur in certain areas).

Is that the name you received it under?  Bob Nold in Penstemons... by the way, he used to pop in here now and then (can somebody send out the "bat signal"?)... describes Penstemon davidsonii var. menziesii 'Microphyllus' as "a miniature (but not miniature-flowered) shrublet, only 1 cm tall".

Well, penstemon ID starts with examing the anther sacs which may require a magnifying glass...  fun!!  ;)
Assuming your plant is Penstemon davidsonii var. menziesii, the Lodewick guide says the anther sacs would be "wooly-pubescent (open end-to-end but hidden in white fuzz)", with a short staminode (1/2 to 2/3 the length of the stamens), slightly bearded or not; leaves small; matforming shrub to 10 (rarely 15) cm tall; calyx 7 to 12 mm long; leaves toothed at least near tip, glossy, 1/2 as wide as long; corolla 18-35mm long (viz. Key to the Genus Penstemon, Robin and Kenneth Lodewick - an excellent reference!)

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 06:31

Good info Lori.  Gene, that's one floriferous beauty!  If you could post a photo close-up of the foliage, then we could see if the leaves are serrated to indicate var. menziesii or not; as the other two varieties of P. davidsonii have entire leaves without pronounced serrations.

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 18:49

Good detail shots... I would venture a guess that your pent is indeed P. davidsonii var. menziesii, just look at those hairy anthers.