Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Penstemon barbatus, Beardlip Penstemon

Scientific Name: Penstemon barbatus
Common Name: Beardlip Penstemon
Also Called: Beard Tongue, Beard-lip Beardtongue, Beard-lip Penstemon, Goldenbeard Beardtongue, Goldenbeard Penstemon, Red Beardtongue, Red Penstemon, Saint Joseph's Staff, Scarlet Bugler (Spanish: Pichelitos, Jarritos, Varita de San Jose)
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort or Snapdragon Family - Moving to Plantaginaceae
Synonyms: (Penstemon barbatus var. coccineus)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 4 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; plants slender, erect and bilateral symmetrical.
Leaves: Green; slender, up to 3 inches, oblanceolate or broadly lanceolate; leaves on upper stems greatly reduced and scarce.
Flower Color: Red, scarlet red, brilliant scarlet red; flowers bilateral, flowers hanging or drooping slightly, flowers in clusters toward the upper end of the stems.
Flowering Season: June to October, spring and early fall with adequate rainfall, Arizona and Texas.
Elevation: 4,000 to 10,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Oak woodlands, mountains among pinyon and ponderosa pine.

Recorded Range: Penstemon barbatus is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, NM, NV, TX, UT. It is also found throughout most of Mexico. In Arizona it is found throughout most of the state with few or no records in Pinal and Greenlee counties.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Penstemon barbatus.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 250 species and 393 accepted taxa overall for Penstemon. World wide, The Plant List includes 301 accepted species names and includes a further 188 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States, Arizona there are 43 species of Penstemon, in California there are 55 species, Nevada has 50 species, New Mexico has 47 species, Texas has 24 species, Utah has 73 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 3 subsp. in Penstemon barbatus;
Penstemon barbatus subsp. barbatus, Beardlip Penstemon (AZ, MS? NM, NV, TX);
Penstemon barbatus subsp. torreyi Torrey's Penstemon (AZ, CO, NM, NV, TX);
Penstemon barbatus subsp. trichander, Beardlip Penstemon (AZ, CO, NM, UT).

Comments: Penstemon barbatus is one of the few red flowered Penstemons in the genus.

Penstemon barbatus has been used as a magic medicine and for other purposes by South American indigenous peoples.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Analgesic, Decoction of root taken for menstrual pain and stomachache.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Burn Dressing, Cold infusion or powdered plant applied to burns.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Cough Medicine, Decoction of plant taken for cough.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Dermatological Aid, Poultice of root applied to swellings, gun wounds and arrow wounds, a 'life medicine.'
Apache, White Mountain Drug, Witchcraft Medicine, Plant used as a magic medicine.
Keres, Western Other, Decorations, Flowers used for bouquets and decorations in dances.
Navajo Drug, Diuretic, Infusion of plants taken as a diuretic.
Tewa Drug, Dermatological Aid, Plant used as a dressing for sores.
Zuni Drug, Hunting Medicine, Chewed root rubbed over the rabbit stick to insure success in the hunt. A rabbit stick which was treated in this manner was sure to kill any rabbit that it was aimed at, provided the thrower had a good heart.
See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 08/17/2016, updated format 10/03/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 08/18/2016)
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 08/17/2016).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 08/18/2016]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information 08/18/2016).