Penstemon serrulatus

I’m on vacation, so another short entry today. It’s a photograph of a native plant of British Columbia, so as to continue the series.

This species of beardtongue has a number of common names, including: Cascade beardtongue, Cascade penstemon, coast penstemon, and serrulate penstemon. It is distributed from Alaska to Oregon. Penstemon serrulatus is one of the few penstemon species that is native to both sides of the Coast-Cascade mountains (most western North American penstemon species are native only to east of the Coast-Cascades).

Penstemon serrulatus

17 responses to “Penstemon serrulatus”

  1. Christian from PDX

    It could be the photo, but our P. serrulatus here in Oregon looks more purple than this specimen that appears to be almost blue.

  2. Er.We

    mine had more red in it too.
    Sadly, it vanished during it’s first winter here. Thx for bringing it back to memory so vividly.

  3. Keturah W

    So, I am guessing that the family taxonomy has been officially split off from Scrophulariaceae? I was fortunate to take a plant systematics class from Dr. Richard Olmstead at UW, who is in part responsible for the molecular discovery that the taxonomy should change. Actually, it was a grad student of his that did the initial work which started the whole thing. An exciting story for those like me who are young students in plant-based science to be a part of such a dynamic field, especially thanks to new and modern techniques!

  4. Laura Louise

    A previous life of living among Junipers made me look back at the Nov 13 06 and June 06 photos of Juniperus scopulorum, amazing. Thankyou.

  5. Sheila

    Stunning. Thank you.

  6. annie Morgan

    How very kind of you to keep on with the photo of the day while you’re on vacation….it is certainly much appreciated.

  7. fred patient

    Thanks for a great series of pictures, although I live in Houston Texas am originally from UK and many of the pics remind me of my early days (1960’s) in the nursery of Leeds City Parks Dept. Please keep these terrific photos coming I love them!!

  8. Cambree

    I like the cute blue flower. I think this busy bee is making the final rounds before it gets too cold.
    Have a nice vacation Daniel. 🙂

  9. Jonathan

    @Christian: I know from experience that digital cameras commonly have a LOT of trouble faithfully capturing purples and blues in flowers. If you remember more purple, you are probably right, and I bet it’s not faithful here. Don’t know why, but a certain shade always comes out wrong in my pictures.

  10. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely flower i see more blue then red
    many lovely images on the web the wild
    flower societys in oregon and washington usa
    some people like to make a little garden
    out of life and walk down a path
    enjoy vacation time daniel

  11. Carol Fuegi

    Both film and digital have difficulty accurately capturing blues and purples. And printers have an even greater challenge. I have often thought of taking out paint color swatches with me when photographing certain flowers and trying to match the color to the swatch for accuracy of reproduction. Haven’t tried it yet, however!

  12. Robert Flogaus-Faust

    I found that it is a good idea to adjust the color temperature when you take a digital photo of purple or red flowers, e.g. switch to the mode for shade or overcast skies. The green color of the leaves does not look good all the With RAW format photographs you can make this adjustment later, of course, when you convert your image to JPEG.
    I don’t know whether Penstemon was “officially” removed from the Scrophulariaceae. The APG suggests this and many botanists, some floras and web sites agree (such as Wikipedia). Most floras and major web sites I know have still got the old version of the Scrophulariaceae, however, such as E-Flora BC (see e.g. here).

  13. pablo

    Reading the discussion of the blue color and I must comment. First, if you computer screen has not been color calibrated with a photometric sensor, then it is unlikely you are seeing an accurate rendition of the digital file’s color. Next, the color of many flowers is not consistent. Just now reading “Our Life in Gardens” by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd where on page 55 they discuss the variation in blue for the common Forget-Me-Nots and link it to the pH of the soil. Could be. Finally, the color of the flower depends on the color temperature of the ambient light. I have taken photos in dappled light where the flowers in direct sunlight have a notably different color than those in shade. I suggest strongly that there is NO single correct color for a flower, nor for most of what we see. So, criticizing the posted photo for color rendition is inappropriate. Sorry.

  14. Eric in SF

    Carol – you’re not far from the truth. There is a standard color reference chart that can be used as part of the tools a photographer uses to get the most accurate color possible. The photographer photographs the reference chart under the exact same lighting conditions as your subject. Once the photographer works with the images back on the computer he/she knows for certain what each color *should* look like.

  15. Ginny Maffitt

    Thanks, Julie. P. serrulatus grows on the west side of the Cascades in Oregon and WA, as well as ‘down’ in the Columbia Gorge. It is usually purple with color variants of blue, white and light blue. It’s easy in wet winter climates, but perhaps not hardy below 10 or 15 degrees F., altho being deciduous I would expect good hardiness. It does better with afternoon shade (thin leaves), some compost in soil, but good drainage. It lives up to 8-10 years with that care. Ginny Maffitt. zone 8a, Sherwood, OR

  16. David in L A

    There is an up-to-date classification of the Scrophs and related families at:

  17. Deborah Gibson

    It’s wonderful to have a native plant series. Thanks so much.
    Deborah Gibson

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