Photo Credit
Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Foxglove beard tongue

Scientific name
Penstemon digitalis
Also Known As
Foxglove penstemon, Smooth white beardtongue
Plant Family
Plant Group
Penstemon means five stamens in Greek. Four of the stamens are fertile (make pollen) and one is sterile. The common name of beard tongue comes from the tuft of hairs on the sterile stamen resembling a beard.
Identification Hints

Find P. digitalis in sunny location to partial shade in moist areas, prairies or open woodlands. Its erect, 2-5 ft. stems are topped with stalked clusters of white, tubular, unevenly five-lobed flowers. Blooms between May and July.  Foliage can be semi-evergreen in the South.  

Did You Know?

The tuft of hairs on the anthers may be important in pollination of Foxglove. The hairs rub against the backs of bees and other insect pollinators that visit the plant and cause the anthers to bend in such a way as to deposit pollen on the backs of the insects.

Nativar Research Project:  Contribute your pollinator observations of this native plant and three of its cultivars.  Are pollinators as attracted to the nativars as they are to the original native plant?  Read more at the Nativar Research Project page. 

Husker red has redish stems  Pocahontas has pinkish flowers with a red stem  Blackbeard flowers are purplish with dark stems