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

Penstemon procerus Douglas ex Graham
small-flowered penstemon (littleflower penstemon; slender blue penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Gordon Neish  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #18203)

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Distribution of Penstemon procerus
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a superficial, woody stem-base, smooth throughout except for the flowers; often with short leafy mat-forming stems at the base, the flowering stems usually several, clumped, ascending to erect but often decumbent-based, (5) 10-40 cm tall, slender.
Basal leaves stalked, lanceolate to spoon-shaped, 3-10 cm long, entire, sometimes poorly developed; stem leaves few, opposite, lanceolate, entire, unstalked, smaller than the basal leaves.
Inflorescence a slender terminal cluster, compact and spike-like or interrupted below, of 1 to several dense whorls of several stalked flowers, the bracts entire; corollas narrowly tubular, 0.6-1.2 cm long, deep purple-blue but occasionally pinkish or yellowish-white, 2-lipped, smooth on the outside, hairy within at the throat; calyces 3-6 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes oblong to egg-shaped, gradually tapering to a sharp tip or abruptly sharp-pointed, minutely hairy, the margins often papery and ragged at least near the base; fertile stamens 4, the anthers smooth; sterile stamen about as long as the fertile stamens, yellow-bearded at its expanded tip.
Capsules, 3-5 mm long; seeds numerous, 0.5-1 mm long.
Two varieties occur in BC

1. Basal rosettes poorly developed; plants mostly 20-40 cm tall, usually with more than 1 whorl of flowers per stem; throughout range of the species................. var. procerus

1. Basal rosettes well developed; plants mostly 5-15 cm tall, usually with only 1 whorl of flowers per stem; SC BC, largely in the Cascade Mtns...................... var. tolmiei (Hook.) Cronq.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic meadows, grassy hillsides, rocky slopes, sandy banks, gravelly ridges and terraces, and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC, except the coast; var. procerus - N to AK and YT, E to SK and S to CO, UT, ID and OR; var. tolmiei - S to WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Penstemon procerus

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) 410 1549 2410
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 185 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
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(57), BAFA(29), BG(26), BWBS(8), CMA(7), ESSF(274), ICH(7), IDF(150), IMA(2), MH(4), MS(102), PP(21), SBPS(18), SBS(26), SWB(3)


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References