Eaton's Penstemon (Scarlet-bugler Penstemon)
Family: Scrophulariaceae - Figwort Family
Perennial herbs; some parasitic or semi-parasitic; 9.84” to 3.3' (2.5 to 10 dm) tall
Leaves: opposite and basal; simple; entire or curled or wavy; lower leaves 1.2” to 7.6” (3 to 19 cm) long, 0.32” to 2.2” (8 to 55 mm) wide
Flowers: 5 united lobed tubular (irregular flowers with upper lip 2 lobed, lower lip 3 lobed) red petals; 5 sepals; 4 fertile stamens, a fifth stamen is sterile; flowers hanging downwards; flowers 0.6” to 1.32” (15 to 33 mm) long
Pollinators: hummingbirds; other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically bees, flies, moths and butterflies)
Fruits: 2 chambered capsule (dry fruit)
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road mile 0 to 2.5, Park Avenue, Delicate Arch trail, Fiery Furnace
Other: The genus name, “Penstemon”, is from the Greek “pen” which means “almost” and “stemon” which means “thread” which refers to the stamens (only 4 of the 5 stamens produce pollen; the fifth stamen is sterile, so it is almost a stamen). The species name, “eatonii”, honors David Cady Eaton (1834-1885), an American botanist.
The genus Penstemon is large and complex. The family is important because it has many ornamentals and cardiac glycosides can be derived from foxglove.
Did You Know?
Feeding wildlife can be very detrimental to their health. It can destroy their natural ability to find food and create a dependency on humans. Animals that develop such a dependency often become aggressive toward humans and must be relocated or even killed.