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

Penstemon gracilis Nutt.
slender penstemon (lilac penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3854)

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Distribution of Penstemon gracilis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a short, unbranched, underground stem-base; stems 1 to few, clumped, ascending to erect, 15-40 cm tall, glandular-hairy in the inflorescence, otherwise smooth or minutely hairy below.
Basal and lowermost stem leaves short-stalked, lanceolate or elliptic, to 12 cm long, often with scattered short teeth, sometimes poorly developed and usually soon withering; stem leaves opposite, unstalked or nearly so, linear-lanceolate, 2-10 cm long, mostly minutely toothed, smooth.
Inflorescence a terminal, relatively slender cluster of several whorls of few stalked flowers, the stalks glandular-hairy; corollas tubular, 1.5-2.3 cm long, lilac or whitish, strongly 2-lipped, glandular-hairy on the outside, hairy at the throat and whitish within; calyces 4-7 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate to egg-shaped, with or without papery margins, glandular-hairy; fertile stamens 4, the anthers smooth except for the minutely bristle-toothed sutures; sterile stamen gradually expanded toward the tip, yellow-bearded for much of its length.
Capsules, 4-8 mm long; seeds numerous, less than 1 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist, sandy or rocky grasslands; rare in NE BC, known only from the Peace River area; E to ON and S to IN, IL, NE and NM.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Penstemon gracilis

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) 360 1097 2330
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 40
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
226 292 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 6
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: ICH(2), IDF(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 glaucus Graham

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References