Penstemon penlandii
Author: W.A. Weber


Kremmling beardtongue


Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Close up of Penstemon penlandii by Susan Spackman Panjabi
Click image to enlarge.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G1
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: USFWS Endangered
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Penstemon penlandii by Sharon Z. Garrett
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General description: Compact herbceous perennials up to 25 cm tall and 20 cm wide. Stems are clumped and pubescent. Leaves are linear, 1-2 mm side, involute or folded. Flowers are about 2 cm long, and are bicolored with blue lobes and violet throats. Anthers have short hairs, and the staminode is bearded (Spackman et al. 1997).

Look Alikes: Not likely to be confused with other Penstemon species in the region. Disjunct from nearest relatives by nearly 150 miles (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: Flowers June-July; fruit August-September.

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Penstemon penlandii by Susan Spackman Panjabi
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Strongly seleniferous clay-shales of the Troublesome Formation; on steep barrens with sparse plant cover, sagebrush badlands.  Associated taxa: Artemisia, Purshia, Chrysothamnus.


Strongly seleniferous clay-shales of the Troublesome Formation; on steep barrens with sparse plant cover, sagebrush badlands. Associated taxa: Artemisia, Purshia, Chrysothamnus.

Elevation Range: 7,395 - 7,890 feet (2,254 - 2,405 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Penstemon penlandii in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: Yes
Global range: A narrow endemic; known from Grand County, Colorado. Estimated range is 13 square kilometers (5 square miles), calculated in 2008 by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Penstemon penlandii based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be "weakly conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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The primary threat is considered to be off-road vehicle use; existing trails run through the populations. Road widening and weed control are threats to the plants in some areas. The Colorado Natural Heritage Program considers all Penstemon species locations as sensitive information because of the risk of collectors targeting populations for use in gardens.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Anderson, J. 1991. Astragalus osterhoutii and Penstemon penlandii recovery plan. Unpublished report prepared for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, CO.
    • Colorado Native Plant Society. 1989. Rare plants of Colorado. Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Colorado Native Plant Society, Estes Park, Colorado. 73 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2004. The First Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: Threatened, Endangered and Candidate Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Neale, J.R. and M. DePrenger-Levin. 2008. Report to the Bureau of Land Management on the survey work conducted for Penstemon penlandii W.A. Weber (Penland's penstemon).
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • Neely, E.E. 1986. Field survey to Grand County.
    • O'Kane, S. L. 1988. Colorado's Rare Flora. Great Basin Naturalist. 48(4):434-484.
    • Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. 2009. RARE Imperiled Plants of Colorado, a traveling art exhibition. Exhibition catalogue developed by the Denver Botanic Gardens and Steamboat Art Museum.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. Proposal to determine Astragalus osterhoutii and Penstemon penlandii to be endangered species. Federal Register 53(128): 25181-25185.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Weber, W.A. 1986. Penstemon penlandii, spec. nov. (SCR) from Colorado. Phytologia 60(6): 459-461.

Last Updated

2014-11-20