Hairy Beardtongue is a woolly-stemmed plant with open, stalked clusters of lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers with white lips. The tubular, lipped flowers are very slender, about an inch long, and pale-violet flowers. The mouth is nearly closed by the arched base of the lower lip. Flowers grace Hairy Beardtongue from late May to late June, attracting bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Its early bloom time and hairy stems distinguish it from other Beardtongues. Its preference ranges for medium-wet to dry soils in varied sun conditions make it a versatile choice for home landscaping. The erect, hairy stems, usually several from the same rhizome, are 16-24 in. tall. Leaves are oblong.

Plants typically are 1-2’ tall with opposite, stemless lance-shaped leaves with toothed margins. The blossom shades range from pale hues of purples and blues to white. The long, thin blooms have five petals with a protruding, hairy lower lip that evokes the species’ common name.

Because its native range is concentrated in eastern North America, Penstemon hirsutus sometimes is called Northeastern Beardtongue.

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