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     (Photo ID #4518)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

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.

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.


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)
2054 1200 2562
Slope Gradient (%)
50 0 140

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

126 15 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 0 4
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(24), ESSF(66), ICH(1), MH(1)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Penstemon davidsonii var. ellipticus (J.M. Coult. & Fisher) B. Boivin