Description

Foxglove Beardtongue matures to 3′ in height and has white to pink flowers. Long-stalked, ascending clusters arising from leaf axils in the upper plant, with 3 to several short-stalked flowers branching at the tip of each cluster. Flowers are about 1 inch long, white to pale pink or lavender, tubular with 5 rounded lobes. The lower lip has 3 lobes nearly equal in size; the upper lip has 2 lobes of equal size and slightly smaller than the lower lobes. Inside the tube are several pinkish or purplish lines, 4 black-tipped stamens hugging the upper part of the tube, a white style, and a sterile stamen with sparse yellow hairs at the tip end. Foxglove Beardtongue prefers medium to dry medium soils but can adapt to many light conditions: full sun to part shade such as clearings within forests, woods’ edges, and savannas.

The tubular flowers of this plant attract long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Miner bees, Mason bees, and hummingbirds.  Penstemons are called ‘Beard Tongues’ because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs. A profusion of tubular, bright-white flowers on strong stems in May and June are magnets for many long-tongued bees. Used also by hummingbirds. Attractive seed pods are almost red in summer.

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