Common Name: Cobaea Beardtongue
Scientific Name: Penstemon cobaea
Height: 1 - 2 feet
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.