Penstemons can be small or large and the flowers are many different colors: red, pink, yellow, blue and lilac. The flowers are tube or trumpet shaped with two lobes on the upper lip and three on the lower lip.

[Photo] Pink Penstemons in Bridgeport area. Photo by Kate CrowellHabitat/Distribution

Penstemons can be found from the desert to the tops of mountains. They like open, rocky places where they can get plenty of sun. They also like to grow in recently burned areas.

Possible Viewing Sites

Penstemons bloom throughout the forest starting in May at the lower elevations and July high in the mountains. Look for penstemons in drier areas, and their cousins the monkey flowers near streams.


Penstemon leaves were used for various medicinal teas but are generally considered inedible.

Interesting Facts

The flowers are usually fuzzy inside and are sometimes called “beard-tongues”. The shape of the flower is designed to dust a bee with pollen as she tries to reach the nectar at the back of the tube.