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General: Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae). Penstemon or beardtongue species are perennial forbs or sub-shrubs to shrubs with attractive flowers. They are short to long-lived. Penstemons have opposite, entire, or toothed leaves. They have several stalked flowers or flower clusters that are borne in the axils of the upper leaves or leaflike bracts. The tubular corolla is strongly to distinctly two-lipped at the mouth with a two-lobbed upper lip and a three-lobbed lower lip. There are 4 anther-bearing (fertile) stamens and a single sterile stamen or staminodia that is often hairy at the tip. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule.
Penstemon strictus is a perennial herb growing 12 to 36 in tall. It has one to few stems arising from a thick crown. The leaves are entire and narrowly oblanceolate. The flowers are deep blue with parts of the corolla violet and whitish. The staminode is sparsely bearded to glabrous. This species likes full sun to partial shade, well drained soils, and blooms in the summer. A good line drawing and identification key is available in Cronquist et al. (1984).