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

Penstemon davidsonii Greene var. davidsonii
Davidson's penstemon
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #52447)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Penstemon davidsonii var. davidsonii
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Species Information

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Low-shrubby perennial herb, woody at the base, with or without a taproot; stems much-branched, creeping, forming dense mats; flowering shoots 5-10 cm tall, minutely hairy.
Opposite, evergreen, smooth but sometimes glandular-spotted, primary leaves short-stalked, thick and firm, the blades elliptic to circular, entire or minutely saw-toothed, 0.5-2 cm long, usually blunt-tipped; leaves of the flowering shoots few, unstalked, small, often bract-like, less than 1 cm long.
Inflorescence a compact, few-flowered, terminal raceme, the bracts and stalks somewhat glandular-hairy; corollas purple to blue-lavender, tubular, 2-3.5 cm long, distinctly 2-lipped, smooth on the outside, hairy within on the lower lip near its base and on a pair of hairy ridges; calyces 7-10 mm long, smooth to thinly glandular-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped; fertile stamens 4, the anthers densely white-woolly; sterile stamen half as long as the fertile stamens, long yellow-bearded toward the tip.
Capsules, 8-11 mm long; seeds numerous, angled, narrowly winged, about 1.5 mm long.
Two sympatric, poorly defined (at least in BC) varieties occur in BC:

1. Leaves entire, tending to be broadest above the middle; infrequent................. var. davidsonii

1. Leaves minutely saw-toothed, tending to be broadest near or below the middle; the common variety.................. var. menziesii (Keck) Cronq.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry rock outcrops, slabs, ledges and talus slopes in the montane to alpine zones; frequent in BC in and west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains to 55degreeN, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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 menziesii subsp. davidsonii (Greene) Piper
Penstemon menziesii subsp. thompsonii Pennell

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References