Desert Penstemon/Beardtongue

(Penstemon spp.)

A Desert Penstemon flower blooms in the Wildflower Field at Sunnylands Center and Gardens.

Found mostly in the Mojave Desert, Desert Penstemon is a robust, blooming plant that never fails to impress. It flowers mainly in reddish pink tones, but cultivated varieties of many colors are in nurseries today. Hummingbirds are attracted to its blooms, and songbirds follow to collect seed. The dried stalks and seed heads rise above the leaf base that can turn to lighter yellows later in season. The stalks can be cut off or left through fall and winter to add interest.

Starting in 2018, Penstemon plants were added to the wildflower field. Originals were transplanted from pots to get them started. They were left to disperse seed, from which additional plants have grown.

The Wildflower Field

The wildflower field at Sunnylands is overseeded annually with native wildflowers and bunch grasses. This provides visitors with a view of the larger cyclical bloom cycles that we have in the desert. Starting in February, a variety of native species and bunch grasses begin emerging. Each year the vegetation varies slightly, depending on which seed dominates the space. The field can range in color from purples to oranges, whites, and pinks, with a variety of combinations. We cannot guarantee that all wildflowers will be present each year.


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