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Beard-tongue Penstemon canescens

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Penstemon canescens, commonly called gray beardtongue, is a clump-forming perennial which typically grows 1-3' tall. It is native to dry slopes and woods primarily in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to North Carolina and Alabama.  

Genus name comes from the Greek words penta meaning five and stemon meaning stamen in reference to each flower having five stamens (four are fertile and one is sterile).

Common uses are sunny areas of borders, rock gardens or native plant gardens.

Penstemons are sometimes commonly called beard tongues because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.

 

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed: Late summer 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Leaf spot may also occur.

 

Cultivars:
Tags:
#bees#native#purple#hummingbirds#butterflies#pink#pollinators#summer#lavender#spring#perennial#herbs#native plants#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#shade tolerant#nectar plant#low maintenance#host plant#host#specialized bees#deer resistant#perennials
Cultivars:
Tags:
#bees#native#purple#hummingbirds#butterflies#pink#pollinators#summer#lavender#spring#perennial#herbs#native plants#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#shade tolerant#nectar plant#low maintenance#host plant#host#specialized bees#deer resistant#perennials
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Penstemon
    Species:
    canescens
    Family:
    Plantaginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Common Buckeye butterfly.  Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the blooms.  Members of the genus Penstemon support the following specialized bee: Osmia (Melanosmia) distincta.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  White-tailed deer will browse heavily on the foliage.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Beard-tongue features loose terminal racemes of pale to dark violet-purple, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1 1/2" long) atop erect, rigid, hairy, gray stems. The corolla is abruptly swollen in the middle. It has grooves and dark lines in the open throat. The flowers bloom in late spring to summer. The stem is gray and finely hairy.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Beard-tongue has clasping, oblong-lanceolate, medium green upper stem leaves (2-6" long). Broad-ovate basal foliage. This species is often covered with dense, minute gray hairs. The upper leaves are stalkless, opposite and rounded to heart-shaped with a sharply toothed margin. The lower leaves are broader and stalked.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees