Penstemon is a genus of flowering plants in family Plantaginaceae, comprising about 250 species. It is also known as Beard-tongue.
Penstemon has opposite leaves, partly tube-shaped, and two-lipped flowers and seed capsules. It is a traditional cottage-garden plant, providing reliable color for months through summer and autumn. Most Penstemons are herbaceous perennial, with others being shrubs or subshrubs, with height ranging from as low as 3 cm to as much as 3 meters. The small varieties are suitable for rock garden, but most are grown in borders. In North America, Penstemon species are often used in Xeriscape landscaping, as many are native to desert and alpine regions, and thus quite hardy.
Although Penstemon are among the most attractive native flowers of North America, Europe has always been far more active in thier cultivation, and hundreds of hybrids have been developed there since the 1800s.
Penstemon heterophyllus (Bunchleaf penstemon and Foothill beardtongue) is endemic to California, where it can be found in all of the major coastal mountain ranges and the northern Sierra Nevada foothills. It is a perennial, evergreen plant, producing large flowers in range of blue or purple to nearly magenta.
Penstemon newberryi is commonly known as mountain pride. It is native to the mountains of northern California, Oregon, and Nevada. It grows in rocky habitat, often at high elevation, such as talus. P. newberryi is a bushy, mat-forming subshrub growing to about 30 cm tall. The leaves are mostly basal on the plant, with oblong or oval and toothed, 1-4 cm in length. The inflorescence bears showy magenta flowers of more than 2 cm in length. The flowers are generally tubular or funnel-shaped and have a coating of short to long and curly hairs in the mouth and on the staminode.
Plant Penstemon in sun and in well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed in spring; softwood cuttings in summer. Pests and diseases are slugs, snails and mildew.