Agalinis tenuifolia (Slender-leaved False Foxglove)
|Also known as:||Slender Gerardia, Slender Agalinis, Common False Foxglove|
|Habitat:||sun; along shores, wet meadows, wet thickets|
|Bloom season:||August - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Single flowers on slender stalks ½ to ¾ inch long arise from leaf axils on many branching stems. Flowers are about ½ inch long and 1/3 inch across with 5 pink to purple finely hairy rounded lobes, fused into a shallow cup-like white throat spotted pinkish purple and greenish at the back. The 2 upper lobes form a hood over the white stamens, with the lower 3 lobes flaring open and slightly rolled back. The fused sepals forming the calyx have short sharply triangular teeth. Each flower only lasts a day or 2 before falling off. Only a few flowers per branch bloom at a time.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are linear, ¾ to 2 inches long, less than 1/8 inch wide, toothless, hairless, stalkless, with a prominent central vein, oppositely attached. Stems are angled and smooth to the touch. Leaves and stems can turn dark reddish purple in drier conditions.
Slender-leaved False Foxglove is a fine wispy plant that appears as a mist of flowers among the other grasses, sedges and forbs of the wet meadows it inhabits. As an annual it is not until later summer that its size fills in and stands out for the wanderer. It is easily confused with Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis purpurea) as it often shares the same habitat. The flowers of A. purpurea have a longer tube and its upper lobes flare out, but easiest way to differentiate the two species is the length of the flower stalk, which is only ¼ inch long or less on A. purpurea. Agalinis spp. is partially parasitic, though it is unknown (to me) which species are host plants. This trait has moved the Agalinis genus from the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family to the Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) family.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey and Anoka counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
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