Penstemon gracilis (Slender Beardtongue)
|Also known as:||Lilac Penstemon, Slender Penstemon|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; prairies, open rocky woods|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||12 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: UPL NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in groups of 2 or more on stalks that arise from the leaf axils in the upper plant, in a spike-like cluster. Each flower is tubular, pale violet to purple on the outside and about ¾ inch long. There are 5 lobes; the upper 2 lobes are shortest and turn up, the lower 3 extend out and turn down. The inside of the tube is white at the center, with darker purple veins on the inside of the lobes, a fuzzy (bearded) orange “flap” down the center, and 5 yellow-tipped stamens that turn dark brown with maturity.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are narrow, to 3 inches long and 1/3 inch wide near the base of the plant, becoming progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaves are widest at their base, taper to a pointed tip, have tiny teeth around the edges, and no stalk. Attachment is opposite.
All Penstemon species were formerly in the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family, but are now in Plantaginaceae (Plantain).
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Glacial Ridge State Park, Pope County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?