Beard-tongue
(
Penstemon digitalis)

There are four white-flowered Penstemon species in Missouri; this is the tallest.  It may grow to four feet; in the Center's butterfly gardens it is usually 30 inches or so.

  • The flowers have two lips, the upper has two lobes and the lower has three.  One of the stamens is modified into a hairy 'tongue' which probably helps to attract pollinating insects.
  • Penstemon grows almost everywhere in Missouri.  Its habitats includes moist woodland borders, prairies, fields and roadsides. 
  • The strong root system of Penstemon helps prevent soil erosion. 
  • Native Americans used the roots to treat toothache and to accelerate healing of open wounds.

Updated, December, 2016