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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Virginia Skilton     (Photo ID #3950)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Penstemon albertinus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
1806 762 2059
Slope Gradient (%)
51 2 100

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

191 110 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Taxonomic 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