Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)

(Fig. 01) Click to Enlarge
Picture Notes: These pictures were captured while hiking down a ledge filled wash that was descending from the Yucca Peak Fossil Beds just below Yucca Peak in the Desert National Wildlife Range. My hiking partner and I were able to observe nearly a half dozen of these appearing to grow right out of the rocky ledges (Fig. 01) that formed the upper portions of this wash. My thanks to Judith Ross, my hiking partner, for helping me to identify this flower.
Description: Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus), a.k.a. Crevice Pestemon and Sheep Range beardtongue, is a low rounded, shrub growing to about 6 inches tall and up to 24 inches across. It has short bark that is gnarled with age, with branching stems. Its leaves are stiff, thick, and folded, dentate (strongly notched), about 1-1/4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, broadly ovate, tip acute, petiolate, glacuous (covered with fine waxy powder that rubs off). In spring and early summer it produces beautiful, deep purple tubular flowers - inflorescence: cyme with 1-4 flowers. The tubular flower is bilaterally symmetrical. The tube is about 1/2 inch long, terminal lobes spreading, magenta with dark violet lines inside, glandular. Palate bearded with yellowish hairs; staminode slightly exerted with short yellow hairs. It is most often found in limestone cliffs in the lower mountains in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones, between 2,000 to 6,000 feet. Endemic to the eastern Mojave Desert, it can be found throughout Nevada, Utah and Arizona.