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Friday, May 1, 2015

Flower Friday: Here's one beard that doesn't need a razor!

Manyflower beardtongue (Penstemon multiflorus)

Photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Manyflower beardtongue (also known as white beardtongue) is a deciduous perennial wildflower. Its showy white flowers are five-lobed, two-lipped and tube-shaped. They are borne on erect stems that are reddish in color and rise from a basal rosette of large, grayish-green leaves. Stem leaves are sessile and oppositely arranged. It was once considered a member of the Antirrhunum (snapdragon) family, but genetic studies have led to its inclusion (along with the Antirrhunum family) into the enlarged Plantaginaceae (plantain) family.

Manyflower beardtongue blooms late spring through early summer and occurs naturally in flatwoods, sandhills and ruderal areas. It attracts a number of pollinators and is the host plant for the
Baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton).
 
Photo by Walter Taylor
The common name "beardtongue" refers to the tendency of blooms within the Penstemon genus to have a long, often hairy filament that protrudes from the mouth of the corolla, giving the appearance of a fuzzy tongue.

Family: Plantaginaceae (Plaintain family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 8-10
Soil: Well-drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 3-4+ feet tall
Garden tips: Manyflower beardtongue works well in wild or naturalistic settings as well more formal gardens. It can be propagated from cuttings and seeds, and also spreads on it own by reseeding and by producing "pups" from the main rosette.

Manyflower beardtongue seeds are available from the Florida Wildflower Cooperative.
Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where manyflower beardtongue occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2353.

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