Thanks a recent rain the wildflowers here in Boulder have exploded. One of the most colorful Spring wildflower displays is on the North Shanahan Ridge Trail. This is where you will find a prolific member of our beloved Rocky Mountain wildflowers, the Penstemon.
Limited to North America there are over 250 Penstemon species. A member of the snapdragon family, Penstemon can be found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from the mountains of Guatemala to the tundra of Canada and Alaska.
The Penstemon currently covering our Ridge are of the blue mist variety (Penstemon virens)…
The name Penstemon is derived from the Greek for five stamen. Another common name results from the most distinctive feature of the genus, its prominent staminode, an infertile stamen. The staminode takes a variety of forms in the different species; while typically a long straight filament extending to the mouth of the corolla, some are longer and extremely hairy, giving the general appearance of an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue protruding and inspiring the common name. Penstemon virens is commonly known as Front Range beardtongue.