Thursday, May 13, 2010

Queen of penstemons

As if the state of Utah weren't blessed enough (with so many gorgeous National Parks and endemic treasures), but the state is lucky enough to have the queen of penstemons named after it: Penstemon utahensis. This gorgeous morsel sneaks a short ways into Colorado, and probably makes it into Arizona I suspect, but it's main homeland is its namesake state throughout the slickrock country of the Colorado Plateau, the San Rafael Swell right up to the Tavaputs Plateau: a large portion of Utah. It starts blooming in April and you can occasionally find it at its highest extremities in June. Right now, I can't imagine how many millions must be blooming throughout the magnificent canyon country: it always seems to find a perfect spot to perch with a cliff behind (I've got a sheaf of pictures like this from all over Utah and its Colorado outpost). That color is rare in temperate plants. Somewhere between coral and cerise--eye blasting. You notice this out of the corner of your eye hundreds of yards away, even speeding by in a car. Slam on the breaks! Haul out the camera...this time maybe you'll get the definitive shot!


  1. You know that watermelon planting season is over when this one blooms. In addition to the states mentioned, it can definitely be found in Az, NV and CA. What, pray tell,do you consider to be the king of penstemons?

  2. Penstemons like a deck of cards are flush with royalty: I regard Penstemon cobaea to be King of Hearts, Penstemon grandiflorus King of Spades and Penstemon alpinus King of diamonds...the juries still out of the King of clubs!


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