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With some 270 species, Penstemon is the largest genus endemic to North America, with examples to be found in every state in the continental U.S. Penstemons are particularly beloved by rock gardeners, but as Panayoti Kelaidis points out in his foreword, they belong in every garden, since "one penstemon or another will thrive in virtually any microclimate a garden can contrive, from hot, desert exposures to dank shade." Many are particularly well suited to gardens requiring little water. Their palette of flower colors spans almost every imaginable shade of white, pink, yellow, blue, purple, and red, and the habit of the various species differs as well, from woody shrubs to cushion plants, with sizes ranging from giant to dwarf.