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Yellowstone Wildflowers

Mountain penstemon (Penstemon montanus) by John William Uhler © Copyright

Mountain Penstemon

Penstemon by Pat Eftink © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Penstemon by Pat Eftink © Copyright All Rights Reserved

One common name for this group, Beardstongue, refers to the presence of a sterile stamen ("tongue") in addition to 4 fertile stamens. No pollen is formed by the sterile stamen, but it is commonly covered with a "beard" or tuft of hairs. There are over 200 species of Penstemon in western North America, but the identification is difficult and requires careful observations of minute flower details. The Penstemons, in general, are found in open, rather dry and rocky habitats. They are often seen in the alpine system, but may be found as low as 8,000 feet in Yellowstone. The anthers are woolly with tangled hairs. {Plants of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks by Richard J. Shaw pg 144}

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