Paul Blischak just got back from his first field season to collect species in Penstemon section Penstemon subsection Proceri.
Penstemon washingtonensis is a species in subsection Proceri that occurs in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. It’s found in only two counties (Chelan and Okanogan) and grows at moderate to high altitudes in open slopes and alpine meadows. Although it has a very narrow geographic distribution, it is not considered threatened or sensitive due to its abundance within its range. It is only about one foot tall but has a very showy blue-purple inflorescence with a densely flowered thyrse and one to several verticillasters below.
Since P. washingtonensis only occurs at higher altitudes, it usually requires hiking up a mountain to find it. Paul hiked up Dirty Face Peak in Wenatchee National Forest to collect this species.
“It was quite a long hike and I was skeptical about finding P. washingtonensis up on the mountain at all because the last time it had been documented on Dirty Face Peak was in 1932. However, I was very happy to find that it was growing healthily starting at about 1600 meters and continuing all the way up to the top. Once I got to the summit, I had an incredible view of the Washington Cascades which was a great way to finish a successful day of collecting in the field.” – Paul Blischak
Way to go, Paul! Congratulations on a successful field season!