Beardtongue                                          Photograph by K. Breault

Penstemon  or Beard-tongue, is a large genus of North American plants.

In some Penstemons, the staminode, which is typically a long, straight filament that extends to the mouth of the corolla, may be longer and extremely hairy.  This may give the general appearance of an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue protruding, which has led to the common name “Beardtongue”.

Native Americans long used penstemon roots to relieve toothache.

 

Identification Tips
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•Family: Figwort (Scrophulariaceae)
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•Habitat: Open woods
•Soil Conditions: Loamy, moist soils
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•Plant Height: Up to 120 cm
•Flower size: 1 inch long
•Flower Cluster Type: Terminal Cluster
•Flower color: White, often tinted with purple
•Flowering time: May to July
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•Leaf Shape: Oblong or lanceolate, toothed
•Leaf size: Up to 15 cm long
•Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
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•Other Identifiers: Smooth stem

 

Collection Information
 
•Collection Period: August-October
 
•Ripeness Indicator: Seed heads are light brown and split open, seed is black
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•Seed Description: Tiny, black, like grains of pepper
 
•Collection Methods: Cut seed heads off of the plant, place inverted in a bag

 

 

 

 

 

Beardtongue