Penstemon lemhiensis - (Keck) Keck & Cronq.
Lemhi Beardtongue
Other English Common Names: Lemhi Penstemon
Other Common Names: Lemhi penstemon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Penstemon lemhiensis (Keck) Keck & Cronq. (TSN 33936)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.149938
Element Code: PDSCR1L3N0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Figwort Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Scrophulariaceae Penstemon
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Penstemon lemhiensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Feb2018
Global Status Last Changed: 16Dec1988
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Regional endemic of southwest Montana and adjacent Idaho.   Threats include spotted knapweed invasion, and suppresion of fire and other natural disturbance regimes.  Populations that have been studied appear relatively stable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Idaho (S3), Montana (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Regional endemic of Lemhi county, Idaho; and Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Ravalli and Silverbow counties, Montana.

Area of Occupancy: 126-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In Idaho, there are 101 occurrences (NatureServe Network Database as of November 2017).  Heidel and Shelly (2001) reported 89 occurrences in Montana.  As of 2018, there are 465 observations in Montana (Montana Natural Heritage Program 2018) which may represent approximately 100 occurrences in the state. 

Population Size Comments: A population at Big Hole National Battlefield was 3,642 in 2014 (Rodhouse 2016).  A population at Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, was 1,352 in 2017 (J. Salix, pers. comm., 2018).   Over 50% of known populations are composed of fewer than 30 individuals (Elzinga 1997).   

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include noxious weed invasion (primarily spotted knapweed, Centaurea stoebe), suppresion of fire and other natural disturbance regimes, indiscriminate spraying of herbicides, grazing and logging under some conditions, road construction/maintenance, and potential mining activity (Heidel and Shelly 2001; Montana Natural Heritage Program 2018).  At Big Hole National Battlefield, "spotted knapweed remains a concern, but the weed control strategy initiated after an alarming 2012 spike, appears to be keeping that infestation at bay" (Rodhouse 2016; National Park Service 2017). "During recent hot, dry years, plant mortality increased and regeneration from seed decreased, raising the possibility of future decline with altered climatic conditions" (National Park Service 2017).  Conifer encroachment needs further study as to the relationship with Penstemon lemhiensis, whether positive, negative, or neutral (J. Salix, pers. comm., 2018).  

Short-term Trend Comments: At Big Hole National Battlefield, study over a 9 year period indicates the population is stable (Rodhouse 2016; National Park Service 2017). At Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 1,352 individuals were counted in 2017 compared with 1,845 in 1988 (J. Salix, pers. comm., 2018). 

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Population declines are attributed to drought conditions and competition from other vegetation. 

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Seedling establishment is the critical demographic stage, strongly affected by climate and surface conditions. 

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Regional endemic of Lemhi county, Idaho; and Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Ravalli and Silverbow counties, Montana.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ID, MT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Lemhi (16059)
MT Beaverhead (30001), Deer Lodge (30023), Ravalli (30081), Silver Bow (30093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Red Rock (10020001)+, Beaverhead (10020002)+, Big Hole (10020004)+, Jefferson (10020005)+
17 Bitterroot (17010205)+, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, Lower Middle Fork Salmon (17060206)+, Middle Salmon-Chamberlain (17060207)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Lemhi beardtongue is a large perennial, with 1 to several stems reaching 70 cm in height and arising from a branched rootstock and short taproot. The leaves are narrowly lance-shaped and untoothed. Stalks of the basal leaves are up to 16 cm long, while the opposite stem leaves lack stalks and become smaller up the stem. Herbage is lightly covered with small hairs and occasionally a thin, bluish wax. Clusters of several short-stalked flowers are borne in the axils of upper leaves. The bright blue, tubular corolla is flared and two-lipped at the mouth and 25-35 mm long. The lance-shaped calyx segments taper to a long tip, are 7-11 mm long, and have a narrow white margin. Anthers are hairy with short pubescence, and the staminode is glabrous.
Technical Description: Perennial herb, 3-7 dm tall, with one to several stout stems from a branched caudex; herbage often finely hirtellous-puberulent at least in part; leaves entire, the basal ones clustered, up to 15-20 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide, with petiolate, oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic blades; cauline leaves sessile, opposite, mostly lanceolate, up to ca 10-12 cm long and 1-2 cm wide; inflourescence glabrous, of several to many loose verticillasters, more or less secund in life; calyx 7-11mm long, the segments lanceolate to narrowly ovate, evidently but not strongly scarious-margined below, tapering to a long-acuminate or subcaudate tip; corolla bright blue to purplish, 40-55 mm long, ca 1.5 cm wide at the mouth; pollen sacs 1-3 mm long, divaricate, evidently dentate ciliate along the sutures, pubescent near the connective and on side away from dehiscence; staminode glabrous; capsules ca 10-15 mm long; seeds ca 2-3 mm long (Shelly 1987).
Diagnostic Characteristics: There are three species of tall beardtongues with large, bright blue flowers in southwest Montana. Penstemon lemhiensis can be distinguished by its narrow, tapered calyx segments greater than 7 mm long, and glabrous sterile stamen (staminode). Penstemon lemhiensis is a tall, conspicuous species; when in full bloom, it is easy to see during field surveys. The most reliable distinguishing features include: a.) the large, bright blue corollas, b.) the sharp, narrow, elongated tips on the calyx lobes, and c.) the lack of hairs on the staminode (sterile filament). Penstemon lemhiensis is very distinctive in comparison to other species that are frequently encountered during field surveys (especially P. aridus, P. procerus, and P. radicosus). These latter species are smaller in stature, have smaller flowers, and differ with respect to the other floral features.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: The flowers are protandrous; anthers begin to shed pollen approximately two days before the stigma becomes sticky and receptive (Ramstetter 1983). The seeds have no appendages that might aid in long distance dispersal. It is likely that most seeds simply fall directly to the ground from the dehisced capsules.
Ecology Comments: Occurs in a wide array of habitats open to sunlight and subject to various natural disturbances with an elevational amplitude of 5000 feet. Populations growing at recent burned sites are more densely populated than adjacent stands that did not burn.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Community types include: 1) Deep-soil rangeland, 2) shallow-soil rangeland, 3) deep-soil Douglas-fir opening, 4) shallow-soil Douglas-fir opening, 5) high elevation lodgepole/limberp pine openings, 6) Ponderosa pine savanna, and 7) alluvial fan Ponderosa pine.  Some populations grow partially or entirely on roadbanks.
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: Showy wildflower
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Continue monitoring programs for Penstemon lemhiensis.  Revisit and monitor Idaho populations.  Coordinate spotted knapweed control to avoid damaging Penstemon lemhiensis plants and habitat.  Continue to study the effects of fire on Penstemon lemhiensis and use prescribed burning as a tool to benefit Penstemon lemhiensis when appropriate.  Control noxious weeds that may expand after fire as needed.  Limit grazing to 30% of infloresence removal or after seed set, design mineral exploration activities to avoid Penstemon lemhiensis, and prevent timber harvest impacts.  Analyze occurrence data to determine whether some occurrences should be combined.   
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20Feb2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Heidel, B., rev. A. Tomaino (2018)
Management Information Edition Date: 20Feb2018
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 10Nov1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): KAJ

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • ACZ, Inc. 1990. Beartrack Project vegetation technical report. Prepared for: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Salmon National Forest, Salmon, ID, and Meridian Minerals, Englewood, CO. Steamboat Springs, CO: ACZ Inc., Engineering and Environmental Services. Draft.

  • Achuff, P. L. 1992. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Dillon Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management: establishment and progress report. Unpublished report for the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 11 pp.

  • Achuff, P. L. 1992. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Dillon Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management: establishment and progress report. Unpublished report for the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 11 pp.

  • Achuff, P. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1991. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Beaverhead National Forest: 1990 progress report. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 34 pp.

  • Achuff, P. L., and J. S. Shelly. 1991. Demographic monitoring of Penstemon lemhiensis, Beaverhead National Forest, 1990 progress report. Unpublished report on file at Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 34 pp.

  • Atwood, D. and N. Charlesworth. 1987. Status report for PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT.

  • Atwood, D., and N. Charlesworth. 1987. Status report for Penstemon lemhiensis. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. Not paged.

  • Elzinga, C. 1997. Habitat conservation assessment and conservation strategy - Lemhi penstemon (Penstemon lemhiensis). USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management. 46 pp. + app.

  • Elzinga, Caryl. 1997. Habitat conservation assessment and conservation strategy - Lemhi penstemon (Penstemon lemhiensis). USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management. 46 pp. + app.

  • Heidel, B. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1992. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Dillon Resource Area. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 18 pp.

  • Heidel, B. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1993. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Dillon Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management: 1992 progress report. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management, Dillon Resource Area. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 18 pp.

  • Heidel, B. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1996. The effects of fire on PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, 1995 monitoring establishment report. Unpublished report to Beaverhead National Forest and Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana.

  • Heidel, B. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1997. The effects of fire on PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS - monitoring establishment report, 1995 and 1996. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 11 pp. plus appendices.

  • Heidel, B. L. and J. S. Shelly. 1997. The effects of fire on PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS - monitoring establishment report, 1995 and 1996. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 11 pp. plus appendices.

  • Heidel, B. and J. S. Shelly. 2001. The effects of fire on Lemhi penstemon (PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS)-final monitoring report, 1995-2000. Report to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Dillon Field Office-Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 22 pp. plus appendices.

  • Heidel, B., and J.S. Shelly. 2001. The effects of fire on Lemhi penstemon (Penstemon lemhiensis) - final monitoring report, 1995-2000. Report to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Dillon Field Office - Bureau of Land Managment. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 22 pp + appendices.

  • Henderson, D. M. 1982. Rare plant survey of the Challis National Forest. Supplement No. 1. University of Idaho, Moscow. 7 pp.

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  • Lesica, P. 1994. Sensitive plant survey of BLM Lands along the Big Hole River and in the Whitehall Valley. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 13 pp.

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  • Mincemoyer, S. 2005. Surveys of significant plant resources and related vegetation types for the Butte Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 11 pp + appendices.

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  • Moseley, R. K., M. Mancuso and J. Hilty. 1990. Field investigation and status survey of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS (Lemhi penstemon) in Idaho. Unpublished report, Natural Heritage Program, Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game, Boise.

  • Moseley, R. K., M. Mancuso, and J. Hilty. 1990a. Field investigation and status survey of Penstemon lemhiensis (Lemhi penstemon) in Idaho. Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. 17 pp. plus appendices.

  • National Park Service. 2017. Lemhi Penstemon and Spotted Knapweed Monitoring, Big Hole National Battlefield. Upper Columbia Basin Network, Moscow, ID.  

  • Ramstetter, J. 1983. An ecological study of the regional endemic Penstemon lemhiensis (Keck) Keck & Cronq. (Scrophulariaceae). Unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Montana, Missoula. 116 pp.

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  • Ramstetter, J., and K. M. Peterson. 1984b. Pollination biology of Penstemon lemhiensis (Keck) Keck & Cronq. In: Abstracts, Annual meeeting of the Botanical Society of America; 1984 August 5-9; Fort Collins, CO. American Journal of Botany. 71(5 Part 2):87. Abstract.

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  • Shelly, J. S. and B. L. Heidel. 1995. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS in southwest Montana - final report. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program. 26 pp. plus appendices.

  • Shelly, J. S. and B. L. Heidel. 1995. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS in southwest Montana - final report. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program. 26 pp. plus appendices.

  • Shelly, J. S. and P. L. Achuff. 1992. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Beaverhead National Forest: 1991 progress report. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest, Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 19 pp.

  • Shelly, J. S. and P. L. Achuff. 1992. Demographic monitoring of PENSTEMON LEMHIENSIS, Beaverhead National Forest: 1991 progress report. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead National Forest, Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 19 pp.

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