Penstemon haydenii S. Wats. (Blowout penstemon) is a plant in the Scrophulariaceae family. The warm season perennial plant is native to the Sandhills of Nebraska. The plant has a milky blue color with a waxy cuticle, pale purple leaves, and alternating leaf pattern with one central stock.
The flowers, while in the inflorescence stage, originate from the bases of the leaves of the plant. The picture above shows some flowers in bloom and toward the bottom shows the flowers in the bud stage. Blowout penstemon flowers from May until early June and drops the seeds late August into September.
Blowout penstemon is resistant to the abrasive forces of the blowing sands with its incorporation of a thick waxy cuticle, whereas other plants are more detrimentally affected by these abrasive forces of wind and sand. As other plants germinate and begin to sprout out of the soil, the abrasive forces of wind and sand cut it off and discourage growth.
The thick cuticle of the blowout penstemon protects it as it emerges out of the soil and retards the harmful effects of the sand and wind. Another adaptive feature for the blowout penstemon plant is the lifespan of the seeds. The seeds dropped in late August into September can remain buried dormant in the sandy soils for decades and still remain viable.
Prolonged wet conditions and abrasion are required for breaking dormancy and seed germination. The plant is primarily an out-crosser (transfers genes from one plant of the same species to another plant of the same or closely related species); although studies show that it is potentially self-fertile (Fertig 2000).
See Also: standing flower, congratulation flowers, congratulation flower