penstemon virgatusPhoto courtesy of the Dale A. Zimmerman Herbarium, WNMUThe Gila Native Plant Society is switching to hybrid mode—no, not for plants but for programs. On Friday, May 20, 2022, at 7:00 pm, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, GNPS will present an in-person program that will also be available online. For this welcome shift it has invited Russ Kleinman, originator of, to give a talk he calls “Penstemons – Some of the Most Beautiful Flowers in the World.”

Russ previews his talk: “Penstemons are beautiful members of the native flora of New Mexico. Along with showcasing the variety of colors and shapes, we will discuss their adaptations to pollinators, recent changes in their classification, and a new Penstemon species that has appeared in our area. Join us as we examine this most beautiful group of native plants!”

Russ Kleinman retired from a career in general surgery to devote his energies to botanical exploration. Russ was instrumental in creating the website, an extensive archive of photographs and information on the plants of the Gila Wilderness. He has been documenting plants in the Gila for 17 years, adding them one by one to Russ has also been studying bryophytes for ten years and has ongoing research projects in New Mexico. He photographed his first Penstemon in 2005 and enjoys searching for rare species of this wonderful genus.

Gila Native Plant Society programs are free and all are invited. Those interested in hearing Russ’s presentation in person should come to Harlan Hall, Room 219, on the WNMU Campus at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 20, 2022. Harlan Hall is on 12th Street at the corner of Alabama, and Room 219 is right up the stairs (or elevator) from the entrance. Those who would rather join in online may request a Zoom link from GNPS at

The Gila Native Plant Society is committed to promoting education, research and appreciation of the native flora of the Southwest; encouraging the preservation of rare and endangered plant species; and supporting the use of suitable native plants in landscaping.  For information on programs, publications and membership, please visit

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