Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Penstemon perfoliatus A.Brongn.

‘Vigorous penstemon with medium blue flowers.  Interesting gray-green broad leaves that wrap the stems to the extent that it appears the stem has pierced through them.’  [Rocky Mountain Rare Plants - Online Reference -].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Planted occasionally in gardens for ornament, especially in San Marcos and elsewhere in the western highlands; native of central and southern Mexico, and dubiously also in Guatemala.  A tall and rather coarse plant, a meter high or less, the stems mostly simple stout, densely viscid-villous with short spreading hairs; cauline leaves sessile and amplexicaul, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, mostly 7-10 cm. long, long-attenuate, very finely serrulate or often subentire, densely short-villous on both surfaces or finally glabrate; inflorescence narrowly paniculate or raceme-like, very leafy, the cymes few-flowered, short-pedunculate, the flowers densely crowded; calyx 1 cm. long, densely viscid-villosulous, the segments lance-ovate or broadly ovate, obtuse or subacute; corolla rose-pink or purplish blue, 3-4 cm. long, glabrate or somewhat pubescent outside, the tube broad and much dilated above.’ [Flora of Guatemala – Fieldiana vol.24, part IX,  p.386/1970-73]

History at Camden Park

The only reference to this plant is a handwritten entry in a copy of the 1850 catalogue held at the Mitchell library, Sydney.  This is inscribed on the front cover Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  Certainly grown in the gardens at this time.


Published Sep 24, 2009 - 02:49 PM | Last updated Feb 18, 2010 - 05:20 PM

Family Scrophulariaceae
Region of origin

Mexico to the Rockies

Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Penstemon perfoliatum 

Confidence level high