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shrubby penstemon, bush penstemon · Penstemon fruticosus

Description: This beautiful mat-forming, woody penstemon (6 to 16" tall) has pairs of lavender to purple flowers at leaf nodes. It blooms from late spring to summer. Leaves are opposite, shiny. It is evergreen in winter and usually grows on open rocky slopes in the mountains from interior British Columbia and Alberta, south to Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming. Sun, low water.

The Lewis and Clark expedition collected specimens of shrubby penstemon on June 15, 1806 near the "quawmash flatts" of Idaho near present-day Weippe. Lewis described the plant life: "...the country is exceedingly thickly timbered with long leafed [ponderosa] pine, some pitch [lodgepole] pine, larch, white pine, white [western red] cedar, ... and a variety of firs. the undergrowth principally reed root [Ceanothus species] from 6 to 10 feet."