• Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

    Bryce Canyon

    National Park Utah

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  • U.S. Highway 89 Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon

    Road damage south of Page, Arizona will impact travel between Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks. Click for a travel advisory and link to a map with suggested alternate routes: More »

  • Sunset Campground Construction

    From April-July 2014, three new restroom facilities will be constructed in Sunset Campground. Visitors may experience construction noise and dust, as well as some campsite and restroom closures. 'Sunset Campground' webpage has additional information. More »

  • Bryce Point to Peekaboo Connector Trail Closure

    Due to a large rockslide, the connecting trail from Bryce Point to Peekaboo Loop is closed. Trail will be reopened once repairs are made. The Peekaboo Loop is open, but must be accessed from Sunset or Sunrise Point.

  • Wall Street Section of Navajo Loop Closed

    Due to dangerous conditions (falling rock and treacherous, icy switchbacks), the Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop Trail is CLOSED. It will reopen in Spring once freezing temperatures have subsided.

  • Backcountry Campsite Closures

    Due to bear activity at select campsites in Bryce Canyon's backcountry, two backcountry campsites have been closed until further notice: Sheep Creek and Iron Spring.

Red Canyon Penstemon

Common Name(s): Red Canyon Penstemon, Red Canyon Beardtongue, Platy Penstemon
Scientific Name: Penstemon bracteatus
Size (height) English & Metric: 2-5" (5-13cm)
Habitat: Dry, gravelly slopes and talus.
Flowering Season (for Bryce region): May - July
Range: Only in Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon area
 
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The upright flower clusters and fleshy, rounded leafs help identify the Red Canyon Penstemon.

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General Description:
Leaves are ovate and spatulate. The blue to blue-violet flowers are tubular with two upper and three lower lobes at the open end. The Mat Penstemon, Penstemon caespitosus, is similar in appearance, however Mat Penstemon has tiny stems so that their flowers appear to be lying on top of the small clumps of ground-hugging leaves.

Plant Lore:
Because this particular species has such a small range, it is doubtful that it ever became an important plant for human use. Penstemons in general are enjoyed for their beauty and not medicinal purposes.

Conservation Message:
This species is extremely rare and because of its small size is often inadvertently destroyed by careless hikers who leave the Bryce Canyon trail system for any reason. Please stay on established trails and be wary of what is underfoot.

When and where to see at Bryce:
Along the upper banks of the Peekaboo Trail from May - July.

Further Reading:
Cronquist, Holmgren, et. al. 1984. Intermountain Flora - Volume Four. The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.

Spence, John and Buchanan, Hayle. 1993. "1993 Update, Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah." The Great Basin Naturalist, Volume 53, No. 3.

Did You Know?

Temple-like spires can be seen in the main amphitheater at Bryce

March 13, 1919: A Utah Joint Memorial passed legislation which read in part: We urge that the Congress of the United States set aside for the use and enjoyment of the people a suitable area embracing "Bryce's Canyon" as a national monument under the name: "Temple of the Gods National Monument." More...