The petals’ resemblance to a bird’s beak which gives this flower its Latin and common name is easily seen in this close-up. Read the rest of this page »
Couldn’t find much info on this low-elevation member of the mustard family. Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge notes that it can be found near Beacon Rock in mid-April, which is exactly where and when we found it.
The genus name refers to the flower’s five stamens. There are over 200 species of penstemon in the west. This is a common high-altitude variety in the Cascades. Distinguishable from rupicola by its lavender color, and from procerus by its single flowers. Fructicosus and nemorosis appear at lower elevations.
The latin tellima, is an anagram of Mitella, made up to link it to that genus. Tall racemes rise above attractive foliage. The strange petals are white at first, then turn a darker pink with age.
This attractive plant is sometimes called “false lupine” due to its resemblance to another pea family member. Close inspection reveals that the Golden-peas leaflets come in threes compared to the 5 of true lupines. Some sources call it inedible, while others claim it may be poisonous. Either way, don’t eat it.