Agalinis aspera (Rough False Foxglove)

Plant Info
Also known as: Rough Gerardia
Family:Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:sun; dry, sandy prairies, open woods
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular

[photo of flower] Single, stalked flowers in the leaf axils of the upper stem and side branches. Flowers are pink to purple, ¾ to 1 inch long, tubular with 5 round lobes that have a fringe of short hairs along the edge. The 2 upper lobes are slightly smaller than the lower 3 and are often barely spreading. The tube throat is pale pink to white with reddish spots; 4 pale-tipped stamens barely extend out of the tube. Outer surfaces are covered in short, fine hairs, the inner surfaces are hairless or nearly so.

[photo of calyx] The calyx has 5 triangular lobes that are shorter than the calyx tube, on a slender, nearly erect stalk that is longer than the calyx.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are linear, stalkless, erect to ascending, 1 to 1½ inches long and about 1mm wide, the toothless edges typically rolled under, the upper surface covered in short, stiff hairs, the lower surface hairless. Leaves are opposite on the main stem, may be alternate on branches, and there are often small leaf clusters in the axils. Stems are angled and rough from sparse, short, stiff hairs. Branches are ascending to nearly erect.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a cylindrical capsule about 1/3 inch long, rounded at the tip, and longer than the calyx. Inside the capsule are many dark seeds. The flower stalk elongates to about ¾ inch in fruit.


While not considered a rare species in Minnesota, Rough False Foxglove is not commonly encountered, perhaps because it does not produce colonies and tends to get lost in surrounding vegetation unless the spot of color from the showy flowers catches one's eye. A robust plant may be near 2 feet tall, many-branched with many flowers, but those we encountered were under a foot tall with only a few flowers open at a time. The Agalinis species may all appear similar, but can be distinguished by combinations of characteristics. Rough False Foxglove is a species of dry, sandy prairie, with linear, rough textured leaves, flowers on mostly erect stalks in the leaf axils, and fruits distinctly longer than the calyx. By comparison, Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis purpurea) and Slender-leaved False Foxglove (Agalinis tenuifolia) are found in moist to wet habitats, the rare Round-stemmed False Foxglove (Agalinis gattingeri) is hairless to slightly rough textured, with single flowers primarily just at branch tips, and the even rarer Eared False Foxglove (Agalinis auriculata) has broader leaves with a pair of lobes at the base.

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More photos

Photos courtesy K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Glacial Lakes State Park, Pope County. Photos courtesy John Thayer taken at Spring Creek Wildlife Management Area, Becker County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Eric - Anoka Co.
on: 2015-09-03 21:14:14

Found in Blaine Preserve SNA. They're really tiny and usually mixed in with a lot of other grasses but they're scattered throughout the SNA.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-09-04 06:46:42

Eric, it is unlikely the Agalinis species you saw at Blaine was A. aspera. It is a species of dry, sandy prairie where Blaine SNA is a wetland. There are, however, two other Agalinis species known to be at Blaine SNA and it was more likely one of those.

Posted by: Mary Winnett - Whitewater State Park
on: 2019-08-24 12:21:16

Along the Chimney Rock hiking trail

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