Penstemon labrosus, San Gabriel Penstemon, is native to
mountains of Southern California from Ventura Co. to Baja from about
3000-10000'(it seems to need the extra rainfall at the higher
elevations). The foliage of this scarlet bugler lays on the ground
making a minimal appearance blending as well as possible with the pine
needles or rocky scree that it lives in/under. From this 6"across flat
plant arises one or maybe two 3' spikes of 2" bright red flowers. It
will then become nearly invisible again for the year. It grows under
Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine or in rocky, gravelly slopes, in some of the
worst climate areas in the U.S. and should do great in the Rockies and
in New England. The rainfall (snow and rainfall) in this beard tongue's
range is about 12-15"/year. It has tolerated summer water well. We have
some plants in the nursery that have been with us for years. Easy,
garden tolerant, cold tolerant and shade tolerant. It will not tolerate
reflected heat in hot climates. In hot climates give it some
In the wild common associated plants include; Symphoricarpos parishii, Ribes cereum, Juniperus occidentalis, Calocedrus decurrens, Fragaria vesca, Abies concolor, Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, Quercus chrysolepis, and Arctostaphylos parryana.
Use a rock to mark where you plant it! In the fall you will not be able to find it until it flowers otherwise.
Really good in a cool, small rock garden or a small perennial garden. Mix with Horkelia parryi, Horkelia rydbergii, Achillea lanulosa, Monardella odoratissima, and Penstemon heterodoxus.
Everyone seems to have a common name for this one. San Gabriel Beard
Tongue, Scarlet bugler, Mountain bugler, San Gabriel Penstemon,
Southern Scarlet Penstemon, Rabbit Ear Penstemon, and how about what we
hear customers ask for that pretty red thing on the side of the
Communities for Penstemon labrosus:Red Fir Forest and Yellow Pine Forest.