Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Larry England
Photo Courtesy of United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Graham beardtongue, Penstemon grahamii, is endemic to (occurs only in) the Uinta Basin in Carbon County, Duchesne County, and Uintah County, Utah, and in immediately adjacent Rio Blanco County, Colorado. A member of the figwort family, this species is a perennial herb that is 5 to 20 cm tall, with thick leathery leaves, and large, tubular, light to deep lavender flowers that bloom from late May to early June. Graham beardtongue grows on semi-barren knolls, ridges, and steep slopes in a mix of fragmented shale and silty clay soils closely associated with the Mahogany zone (oil shale bearing) of the Green River Formation. It grows in sparsely vegetated communities of pinyon-juniper, desert shrub, and Salina wildrye, at elevations ranging from 1430 to 2060 meters. Impacts from oil and natural gas development, as well as from sheep and cattle grazing, are potential threats to this plant.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins [eds.]. 1993. A Utah flora (2nd ed., revised). Provo, UT: Brigham Young Univ. 986 pp.