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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Cary's Beardtongue - Penstemon caryi

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 3

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Restricted in Montana to the Pryor Mountains.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Cary's Beardtongue (Penstemon caryi) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 04/01/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score2 - Small: Generally 2,000-10,000 individuals.

    CommentAvailable data supports an estimate of only a few thousand plants though data are limited and some sites have either imprecise estimates or no population estimate avilable.

    Range Extent

    Score3 - Local Endemic or Very Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <10,000 sq. miles (equivalent to the combined area of Phillips and Valley Counties) or <6 Sub-basins (4th code watersheds) Range-wide OR limited to one Sub-basin in Montana

    Area of Occupancy

    Score2 - Low: Generally occurring in 4-10 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score0-1 - Low to Moderate.

    CommentOccurs in a variety of habitats and has been found along some roadcuts.


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.

    CommentTrends are unknown, though there is no indication that the species' has experienced severe declines in Montana.


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    CommentSome occurrences are near areas of human-use and have the potential to be negatively impacted. However, no threats have been identified that would be high in terms of scope or severity.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0-1 - Low to Moderate Vulnerability.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 7 to 10 total points scored out of a possible 16 (Rarity factors and threats only).

General Description
Stems erect, 15–35 cm. Herbage glabrous, often glaucous. Basal leaf blades linear-oblanceolate, entire, 2–7 cm long. Stem leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 4–8 cm long, clasping the stem. Inflorescence crowded, of 3 to 7 few-flowered verticillasters. Flowers: calyx 7–10 mm long; sepals ovate, acuminate, erose- and scarious-margined; corolla blue to lavender, 22–32 mm long; anthers villous, not opening near the filament; staminode sometimes nearly glabrous. Capsule 5–12 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in June and July, fruiting in July.

Species Range

Range Comments
Regional endemic of the Bighorn and Pryor mountains of north-central Wyoming (Big Horn, Sheridan, and Washakie counties) and south-central Montana.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 40

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Stony, calcareous soils in Douglas-fir forests, juniper woodlands, sagebrush steppe from the montane to lower subalpine zone (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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Citation for data on this website:
Cary's Beardtongue — Penstemon caryi.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from