Penstemon gibbensii
Author: Dorn


Gibben's beardtongue


Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Close up of Penstemon gibbensii by Alicia Langton
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Close up of Penstemon gibbensii by Alicia Langton
Click image to enlarge.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G1G2
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Artwork in progress by Saundra Dowling. Please also see 1997 profile.

General description: Perennial plants 10-20 cm tall, with pubescent stems.  Stem leaves are narrow (5 mm wide) and are often folded.  Basal leaves tend to be narrow and deciduous.  Flowers are blue-purple, and glandular hairy.  Anther sacs are villous on side opposite dehiscence.  Staminode is sparsely white-bearded, usually just at the tip (Ackerfield 2012, Spackman et al. 1997, Fertig and Neighbours 1996, Dorn 1990).

Look Alikes: Penstemon saxosorum has leaves over 5 mm wide and glabrous stems and sepals. Penstemon fremontii and P. glaber have non-glandular inflorescences and wider leaves (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: June-September (Spackman et al. 1997).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Penstemon gibbensii by Susan Spackman Panjabi
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This species occurs on barren outcrops of white shale and sandstone of the Brown's Park Formation. It is commonly growing in very fine textured sandy clay soils with gravel and cobbles, and is often associated with cryptobiotic crusts. It is predominantly found on steep slopes that are highly susceptible to erosion. Plant cover is never more than 20% in the vicinity of the occurrences. Associated taxa include Wyethia scabra, Chrysothamnus viscidifloris, Stanleya pinnata, Asclepias cryptoceras, Astragalus kentrophyta, Hymenopappus filifolia, Oryzopsis hymenoides, Hedysarum boreale, Oxytropis lambertii, Tetradymia canescens, Euphorbia sp., Phlox sp., Lesquerella sp., Gallium sp., and Cryptantha spp. It is sometimes found among scattered pinyons and junipers (Pinus edulis and Juniperus osteosperma).

Elevation Range: 5,407 - 5,728 feet (1,648 - 1,746 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Penstemon gibbensii in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: South-central Wyoming, northwestern Colorado and adjacent northeastern Utah.
State range: Known from extreme northwestern Moffat County in Colorado. Estimated range in Colorado is 13 square kilometers (5 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008). Also known from Utah and Wyoming.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Penstemon gibbensii 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 at this time is considered to be motorized recreation (Rondeau et al. 2011). Use of off-road vehicles, grazing, and noxious weed invasion are impacting both occurrences of this species in Colorado (Dorn 1990, Spackman and Anderson 1999).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Atwood, D., J. Holland, R. Bolander, B. Frnaklin, D. E. House, L. Armstrong, K. Thorne, and L. England. 1991. Utah Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plant Field Guide. US Forest Service Intermountain Region, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Natural Heritage Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo Nation, and Skull Valley Goshute Tribe.
    • Beardsley, M. and D. A. Steingraeber. 2013. Population dynamics, rarity and risk of extirpation for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado. A research report submitted to the USFS Forest Service. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forets and Pawnee National Grassland. pp 17. Accessed online on May 11 at: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/profiles/Critically_Imperiled/mimulus_gemmiparus/ documents/USFS_MimulusStatusReport2013.pdf
    • Dorn, R.D. 1982. A new species of Penstemon (Scrophulariaceae) from Wyoming. Brittonia 34(3): 334-335.
    • Dorn, R.D. 1989. Report on the status of Penstemon gibbensii, a candidate Threatened species. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 23 pp.
    • Dorn, R.D. 1990. Report on the status of Penstemon gibbensii, a candidate threatened species. Unpublished.
    • Dorn, R.D. 1990. Report on the status of Penstemon gibbensii, a candidate threatened species. Unpublished.
    • Fertig, W., and M. Neighbours. 1996. Status report on Penstemon gibbensii in south-central Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bur. Land Management, Wyoming State Office and Rawlins District by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie. 66 pp.
    • Fertig, W., C. Refsdal, and J. Whipple. 1994. Wyoming rare plant field guide. Wyoming Rare Plant Technical Committee, Cheyenne. No pagination.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
    • Spackman, S. and D. Anderson. 1999. Field Survey and Protection Recommendations for the Globally Imperiled Gibben's Beardtongue, Penstemon gibbensii Dorn in Colorado. Unpublished report for the Colorado Natural Areas Program. 36pp.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. (Web authors: Johnson, C.S. and M. Barry). 1999. 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. Online. Available: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/rareplants/cover.html (Accessed 2005)
    • 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.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Last Updated

2013-10-28