E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Penstemon albertinus Greene
Alberta penstemon (Alberta beardtongue)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3950)

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Distribution of Penstemon albertinus
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a branching woody stem-base; stems several, clustered, ascending to erect, 10-40 cm tall, usually smooth below, glandular-hairy in the inflorescence.
Opposite, irregularly and obscurely saw-toothed or entire, bright green, thick and firm, mostly smooth; basal leaves lanceolate to oval or spoon-shaped, 4-10 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide, stalked; stem leaves well developed, lance-oblong, 2-5 cm long, unstalked.
Inflorescence a leafy-bracted, rather narrow, terminal cluster of 4 to 8 whorls of stalked flowers; corollas blue-violet to light blue, tubular, 1.2-2 cm long, hairy on the outside, hairy inside at the throat, 2-lipped, the lower lip a bit longer than the upper; calyces 3-6 mm long, somewhat glandular-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes nearly distinct, broadly lanceolate to egg-shaped, slightly papery-margined, pointy-tipped; fertile stamens 4, the anthers smooth except for the often bristle-toothed sutures; sterile stamen golden-bearded for less than half its length toward the scarcely expanded tip.
Capsules, 5-7 mm long; seeds numerous, 0.8-1.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry open gravelly slopes, rocky ridges and forest margins in the montane to upper subalpine zones; infrequent in SE BC; E to SW AB and S to NW MT and C ID.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Really a lovely little penstemon with lavender pink flowers overlain with an iridescent blue. Some forms can be much more blue though these we have not yet seen in cultivation. Plum stained foliage. Unusual and easy addition to front of border in full sun and in well-drained soils. Remember not to cut back until spring - the foliage protects it through the winter. Penstemons are great for late summer colour so consider one, or a few, for your garden.

Note author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials


Ecological Framework for Penstemon albertinus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 762 1806 2059
Slope Gradient (%) 2 51 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
110 191 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(14), BWBS(1), ESSF(1), PP(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References