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Unknown Penstemon

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Quid, Me Anxium Sum?


This plant belongs the Subgenus Dasanthera, and is clearly related to Penstemon cardwellii and P. fruticosus.

The original parent plant was found about 1992 in front of a house located on the west side of 4th Ave. NE in Seattle, WA, between NE 45th St. and NE 47th St. It was about 12 inches high and about 4 feet across and draped over a concrete wall about 2 feet. Quite large for a Penstemon. Most of it was dead from not being regularly pruned. I had created a small rock garden in front of 4718 4th Ave. NE, where I lived in a basement apartment. I removed a rooting stem from the parent plant, and placed it in water overnight, and then planted it in my rock garden. Several years later I moved from that address (about 1995) and the then owner of that house removed the rock garden (about 1998), destroying my original specimen. About 2 years after that, the original parent plant was also destroyed, but I had taken another cutting from it, which I planted in the backyard of an apartment building on NE 55th St., where I was then living. Later the same year I moved to my current address, but left the new specimen behind. I doubt that the new specimen survived, and I currently have no other specimen. So all I have are the photos below that I took of the original specimen. In full bloom, it was absolutely gorgeous.

Pre-Flowering Habit

Overall Habit

Closeup 1

Closeup 2

Closeup 3

Closeup 4


What was interesting about my specimen was that the stems, calyx, and outer surface of the flowers were glabrous, but appeared to be somewhat waxy. The top surface of the leaves varied noticeably from being glaucous to, I believe, being slightly cinerous (I'm not sure of that). The leaves were irregular in size, even on the same stem; the position of the larger leaves varied from stem to stem; being near the bottom of some stems, but near the top of others. The leaf margins were slightly and unevenly toothed. The base of the plant was shrubby, as typical of the Section Dasanthera. The non-flowering stems were more or less branched, and became woody in their 2nd year. My specimen responded well to pruning, and flowered profusely. If I pruned the flowering stems in the late fall or early spring while the buds were still unopened, they did not produce new flowering stems until another year had gone by.

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©2007-2011 by John Halsey Flannery (aka Sean Flannery)

This page was last updated 08 September 2011

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