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Penstemon australis

Phonetic Spelling
PEN-stem-on aw-STRAL-iss
Description

A short-lived native of the coastal plains from Louisanna to southeast Virginia, it can be found flourishing in dry pinelands, thin upland woods, sandhills, and dry fallow fields.  

Each plant consists of one or more flowering stems formed from a rosette of leaves.  Those leaves are smooth, rounded with a tapered base, and toothed.  The upper stem leaves (Cauline) are lance-shaped (narrowing at both ends) with sparsely toothed margins.  

The flowers are tubular shaped and two-lipped.  The upper lip is 2-lobed, the lower is 3-lobed.  The blooms are pink to rose-purple on the outside and white with dark purple lines on the inside.  The staminode (non-functional stamen) protrudes from the flower, similar to a tongue from an open mouth, giving rise to the common name 'beard tongue'.

It is easy to grow in sandy, low nutrient, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Use in the native pollinator garden or rock garden.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  A short-lived perennial.

More information on Penstemon.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Lake Wall Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native perennial#nectar plant#specialized bees#native garden#rock gardens#borders#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinators#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native perennial#nectar plant#specialized bees#native garden#rock gardens#borders#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinators#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Penstemon
    Species:
    australis
    Family:
    Plantaginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE USA
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Penstemon support the following specialized bee: Osmia (Melanosmia) distincta. Attracts bees and humming birds.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat and drought tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 3 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Capsule containing several seeds July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The 1-inch flowers are deep rose in color on the outside and white on the inside. Clusters of flowers occur on multiple terminal stems. Flowers bloom from May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal rosette of oblanceolate to obovate leaves 2-4 inches long and .5 to 1 inch wide. Stem leaves are often edged in red, serrated, clasping and lanceolate. 2-4 inches long. Surface with short hairs.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Single stemmed. Not branched above the base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil