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Cobaea Beardtongue

© Nancy Goulden


Common Name: Cobaea Beardtongue

Scientific Name: Penstemon cobaea

Family: Figwort

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 1 - 2 feet

Bloom Period:
May and June


Description: There may be one to several erect stems. Opposite, egg-shaped leaves are smooth and glossy with a pointed tip. Bell-shaped, white to lavender flowers are up to 2 inches long with purple stripes in the throat.

Comments: Penstemon means “five stamens.” One stamen is sterile, bearded with a tuft of yellow hairs and projects from the flower throat, thus the name, “beardtongue.” Another common name is “foxglove,” because of its resemblance to Digitalis, the plant used to produce heart medicine. Eleven species of Penstemon occur in Kansas. New growth of Cobaea Beardtongue is eaten by livestock, especially sheep. It is found on prairie hillsides and rocky soil in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas.