FLOWERS: Scarlet flowers are long-tubular and may appear partly two-lipped. Blooming mostly mid spring through early summer.
PERENNIAL: Tall, herbaceous wands from a perennial root-stock. Some stems may surpass 1½ m tall; mature plants may have a dozen or more stems from base.
LEAVES: Leaves are lanceolate to linear and are opposite on the stems. Leaves and stems are glabrous.
RANGE: Fairly common in the mid to upper elevations ( above 600 meters) of the Sonoran Desert along cliff faces and high on wash banks.
FRUIT: Dry capsules with a number of seeds.
Like most red flowers, the flowers of P. subulatus are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Indeed hummingbirds are the principal, if not only, effective pollinator.
Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Slender herbaceous perennial forb with few to several stems 20-70 cm tall, glabrous throughout. Leaves: Green or faintly glaucous, basal ones narrowly linear-oblanceolate to broadly oblanceolate or rarely elliptic, 3-15 mm wide to 10 cm long, gradually tapering to a narrowly winged petiole 1-3 cm long, often long-attenuate at apex; cauline leaves linear-lanceolate to linear-subulate, 2-5 mm wide to 8 cm long, sessile but not auriculate clasping. Flowers: An elongated thyrse 10-40 cm long, sepals ovate, 3-5 mm long, abruptly acuminate or subulate, glabrous or minutely scurfy with small sessile glands on and near margins; corolla scarlet, tubular, 18-26 mm long, 3-5 mm wide at mouth, lobes similar, 2-2.5 mm long, rounded, moderately spreading, glabrous without and within, shorter stamens about three fourths as long as, longer pair nearly equaling tube. Fruits: Ovoid capsules, 6-8 mm long, 4-5 mm wide. Ecology: Found on stony hillsides and rocky slopes and canyons from 1,500-4,500 ft (457-1372 m); flowers March-May. Notes: Some distinguishing features are the glabrous corolla, which is narrowly tubular and 2-lipped. Stamens didynamous, the fifth is a staminode which is nearly glabrous. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genera have many uses. Etymology: Penstemon is from Greek pente, five and stemon, indicating the five stamens of the genus, while subulatus means awl-shaped. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010