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Penstemon fruticosus is a member of subgenus Dasanthera, the basal lineage of the genus. It’s somewhat similar to P. davidsonii in appearance, except the leaves are very distinctive. Serrated in P. fruticosus, mostly entire in P. davidsonii. The latter species has a more western distribution as well – for example, in the Cascades, one finds P. davidsonii var. davidsonii mostly one the western side of the range and P. fruticosus on the eastern side.

Penstemon fruticosus forms extensive mats.

Penstemon fruticosus forms extensive mats.

Penstemon fruticosus - flowers are presented mostly on one side of the stalk.

Penstemon fruticosus – flowers are presented mostly on one side of the stalk.

Penstemon fruticosus - the anthers are covered in a thick layer of hairs. The corolla is pleated on the lower surface, and ridged on the top one.

Penstemon fruticosus – the anthers are covered in a thick layer of hairs. The corolla is pleated on the lower surface, and ridged on the top one.

Penstemon fruticosus - pollinated primarily by bees.

Penstemon fruticosus – pollinated primarily by bees.

Penstemon fruticosus - one of the very lovely species found in subalpine habitats.

Penstemon fruticosus – one of the very lovely species found in subalpine habitats.

Photos by Andi Wolfe ©2013 – All rights reserved.

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