The Blowout Penstemon (Penstemon haydenii) is one of the rarest and most endangered plant species in the United States. It is currently known from 10 naturally-occurring populations in the Nebraska Sandhills and from three populations on sand dunes in the Ferris Dunes of south-central Wyoming. Approximately 22 artificially-planted populations persist in the Nebraska Sandhills from earlier restoration trials.
Blowout Penstemon is an early succession species of open sandy habitat which disappears from revegetated sites. It was reported to be locally abundant in the Nebraska sandhills in the early 20th century, when there was considerably more open habitat (Pool 1914).
Lauritzen Gardens is working with a team of federal and state botanists to develop a plan for a systematic, range-wide seed banking effort for Penstemon haydenii. The effort will involve collecting seed samples from as many extant populations as is possible and prudent.
The conservation experts at CPC participating institutions such as the Lauritzen Gardens share their in-depth conservation expertise about rare plants through CPC’s National Collection Plant Profiles.
Blowout Penstemon photo credit: Bonnie Heidel ©2018