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

Penstemon ellipticus J.M. Coult. & Fisher
oval-leaved penstemon (elliptic-leaved penstemon; rocky ledge penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Mary Sanseverino  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #4518)

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Distribution of Penstemon ellipticus
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Species Information

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Low-shrubby perennial herb, woody at the base, with or without a taproot; stems branched, creeping, forming rather loose mats; flowering shoots 5-15 cm tall, spreading-hairy.
Opposite, evergreen, smooth, primary leaves short-stalked, thick and firm, the blades broadly elliptic to egg-shaped, entire or remotely toothed, 1-2.5 cm long, rounded to blunt-tipped; leaves of the flowering shoots few, unstalked or nearly so, egg-shaped, similar to the primary leaves but less crowded, usually at least 1 cm long.
Inflorescence a compact, terminal raceme of 2 to 4 pairs of stalked flowers, the stalks glandular-hairy; corollas light purple to deep lavender, tubular, 2.5-4 cm long, distinctly 2-lipped, smooth on the outside, white-hairy within on the lower lip near its base and on a pair of ridges; calyces 8-15 mm long, minutely sticky-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-linear to narrowly oblong; fertile stamens 4, the anthers densely white-woolly; sterile stamen shorter than the fertile stamens, long yellow-bearded for much of its length.
Capsules, 8-11 mm long; seeds numerous, angled, narrowly winged, 2-2.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry rocky slopes, cliff crevices and ledges in the subalpine to alpine zones; infrequent in SE BC; E to SW AB and S to WY, N ID and WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Penstemon ellipticus

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) 1200 2054 2562
Slope Gradient (%) 0 50 140
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
15 126 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 4
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(24), ESSF(66), ICH(1), MH(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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Penstemon davidsonii var. ellipticus (J.M. Coult. & Fisher) B. Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References