The name "Penstemon" means "five stamens".
The name "Beardtongue" refers to the fact that one of the stamens is
different from the rest. It is called a "staminode" and is covered with fine hairs,
appearing to have a beard. This stamen does not develop any pollen itself, but probably
helps to attract insects into the center of the flower where pollen from the
other stamens can cover their bodies and be carried to the next flower.
There are several species of Penstemons that occur in Utah. Here are some
that you might see in our northern Mountains.
The Wasatch Penstemon (Penstemon cyananthus) is very showy, having intense blue blossoms
commonly growing on a stalk about 2 feet tall.