Common name: Scarlet Bugler
Latin name: Penstemon centranthifolius
Height: 12-47 inches
Description: Penstemon centranthifolius is a perennial herb with many straight, hairless, erect branches which may exceed one meter in maximum height. The top of the stem is occupied by a long inflorescence bearing narrow tubular flowers with small projecting lobes at the lips, the longest flowers 3 centimeters long. The flowers are bright red to orange-red and hairless all over, including the sterile stamen.
Leaf: The thick, untoothed leaves may be up to 10 cm long and are arranged oppositely, with some pairs fused together about the stem.
Range: sw edge Mojave Desert, North Coast Ranges, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley (margins), Central Western California, Southwestern California,
Habitat: Dry, open or wooded places, generally in chaparral or oak woodland
Elevation: < 1800 m.
Flowering time: Apr–Jun
Notes: This species commonly hybridizes with Showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), a species with wide-mouthed purple-blue flowers, to produce a penstemon with pinkish-purple flowers which is intermediate in size named Penstemon parishii. P. centranthifolius is a dicot that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Distribution outside California: Mexico. This photo was taken on April 11, 2004.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports
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