AND THEN THERE WERE THREE!
Two penstemons met on a SoCal crest
Scarlet and Purple, each knew they were best
A bee sipped one, flew dust to the other
Scarlet as father, Purple as mother
Bred Violet, classy best in the West.
Scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) and
purple or showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)
are short-lived perennials flaunting exhuberantly flowering
stalks, attracting many pollinators – hummingbirds,
bees (Anthidium illustre is one), Syrphid flies, et al.
Violet is a well-known hybrid (Penstemon x parishii).
These penstemons are great for classrooms and public
events as colorfully clear examples of what happens
when natural hybridization takes place.
The ability of these penstemons to attract pollinators makes
them a beautiful and useful addition to your water-conserving
southern California inland garden.
In the photo: scarlet bugler is on the left, purple or showy
penstemon is at the top, and their violet hybrid,
Penstemon x parishii is center right.