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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Yellow Beardtongue - Penstemon flavescens

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 Bitterroot Range primarily in Ravalli County but also documented from Mineral County. The species can be relatively common or widely scattrered in areas of suitable habitat, though detailed information on the abundance of the species is lacking. More detailed information documenting the abundance, distribution and any potential threats is needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Yellow Beardtongue (Penstemon flavescens) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/04/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score1-2 - Small to Moderate. Population size is imprecisely known but is believed to be >2,000 individuals and <100,000 individuals.

    CommentEstimated. Available observation and collection information provides little data on population levels.

    Range Extent

    Score2 - Regional or State Endemic or Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <100,000 sq. miles (equivalent to 2/3 the size of Montana or less) or Montana contributes 50% or more of the species’ range or populations OR limited to 2-3 Sub-basins in Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally occurring in 11-25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.

    CommentTrends unknown, though populations are likely stable or experiencing only minor declines.


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0-1 - Low to Moderate Vulnerability.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 5 to 8 total points scored out of a possible 16 (Rarity factors and threats only).

General Description
Stems erect, 8–30 cm. Herbage glabrous to puberulent on the stem. Basal leaf blades oblanceolate, entire, 1–6 cm long. Stem leaves lanceolate to oblong, 2–5 cm long. Inflorescence of 1 to 3 dense verticillasters, glabrous; bracts scarious. Flowers: calyx 4–8 mm long; sepals ovate, erose- and scarious-margined with an acuminate tip; corolla ochroleucus to light yellow, 12–15 mm long; anthers glabrous, opening across their full length. Capsule 5–7 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering and fruiting in July and August.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Regional endemic of the Bitterroot Mountains in Ravalli and Mineral Counties, Montana and central Idaho.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 85

(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)

Open or wooded, often rocky slopes well up in the mountains.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Clark, D.V. 1971. Speciation in Penstemon (Scrophulariaceae). Ph.D dissertation. University of Montana, Missoula. 169 pp.
    • Forcella, F. 1977. Flora, chorology, biomass and productivity of the Pinus albicaulis-Vaccinium scoparium association. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 99 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Strickler, D. 1997. Northwest penstemons. Flower Press, Columbia Falls, Montana. 191 pages.
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Citation for data on this website:
Yellow Beardtongue — Penstemon flavescens.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from