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     (Photo ID #18203)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

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.

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 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)
1549 410 2410
Slope Gradient (%)
25 0 230

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

185 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 7
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(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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia