Rydberg’s Penstemon


Rydberg's Penstemon

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Product Description

Rydberg’s penstemon, a member of the Figwort Family is a semi-evergreen, perennial forb with a tap root. Rydberg’s penstemon is found in the western United States from Montana south to New Mexico and westward to the Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Rydberg’s penstemon grows on moderately moist to dry slopes, meadows and streambanks from valleys to sub alpine and alpine sites. It is adapted to basic and acid soils, medium to fine textured soils in areas receiving 20-30 inches annual precipitation and 4,265-10,827 feet elevation. In the Great Basin province and intermountain west, Rydberg’s Penstemon is a commonly occurring plant in alpine meadows, on open sidehills and mountain parks. It is frequently found growing along side lupine, sticky geranium, showy goldeneye and Louisiana sage.

Rydberg’s penstemon is one of the more palatable species of penstemon and provides forage for wildlife, cattle and sheep and provides diversity in the plant communities where it is found.

Penstemon species are used in seed mixes for erosion control and reclamation.

Rydberg’s penstemon attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and insects.

Rydberg’s penstemon is one of nearly two dozen plant species named in honor of Per Axel Rydberg, a prominent Swedish-American botanist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although originally trained as a railroad engineer, an accident left Rydberg permanently lame and in search of a less strenuous occupation. Rydberg turned his amateur interest in botany into a second career, rising to prominence as the curator of the New York Botanical Garden herbarium and authoring several early floras of the Black Hills, Colorado, Montana, Rocky Mountains, and Great Plains.

Over his prolific botanical career, Rydberg described nearly 1400 new species and genera of vascular plants from North America, earning him a reputation as a taxonomic “splitter”, or someone who emphasizes morphological differences between plant populations (versus a “lumper”, or taxonomist who places greater importance on continuities among populations).

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