large-flowered beardtongue

(Penstemon grandiflorus)

Conservation Status
large-flowered beardtongue
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Large-flowered beardtongue is a 12 to 40 tall, erect, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that rises on usually a single stem, sometimes 2 or 3 stems, from a stout taproot.

In the first year it appears as a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it sends up a flowering stalk.

The stems are erect, stout, unbranched, round in cross section, and hairless. They are pale grayish-green to bluish-green and are covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous).

Basal leaves are stalked, thick, firm, grayish-green to bluish-green, egg-shaped to inversely egg-shaped, 2 to 5 long, and 1 to 3 wide. They are gradually tapered or rounded and abruptly tapered at the base, and are blunt or pointed at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless and glaucous. The margins are untoothed.

Stem leaves are opposite, stalkless, egg-shaped, 2 to 4 long, 1 to 2½ wide, rounded at the base, and otherwise similar to basal leaves. They become progressively shorter but not much narrower as they ascend the stem. Upper stem leaves are almost round and are shallowly heart-shaped and somewhat clasping at the base.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, elongated, 6 to 12 long, raceme-like cluster at the end of the stem. There are 3 to 9 opposite pairs of leaf-like appendages (bracts) in the inflorescence. The bracts are similar to upper stem leaves but much smaller, up to 1¼ long and ¾ wide. From the axil of each bract there rises usually 1, sometimes 2 or 3, large, short stalked, showy flowers.

Each flower has 5 sepals, 5 petals, 5 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and ¼ to 7 16 long. They are fused at the base into a cup-shaped tube, then separated into 5 long, sharply pointed lobes. The lobes are longer than the tube. The petals (corolla) are purple or purplish-pink. They are fused at the base into a trumpet-shaped, 1 to 2 long tube with 5 rounded lobes. The lobes form 2 distinct lips, a 2-lobed upper lip and a 3-lobed lower lip. The tube is much longer than the lobes. There are dark purple lines within the corolla tube that act as nectar guides. The stamens are about as long as the corolla tube. Four stamens are fertile, one is sterile (staminode). The staminode is has yellowish hairs at the tip, which is the source of the common name beardtongue. The style is white. The individual flowers are short-lived but the blooming period lasts about 3 weeks from May to late June. They are not fragrant.

The fruit is an egg-shaped, to ¾ long seed capsule with numerous seeds. It is pale green at first, turning brown and woody as it matures.




12 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species

  No similar species  

Dry. Prairies. Full sun. Sandy or rocky soil.




May to late June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.








Widespread but not abundant

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


Plantaginaceae (plantain)  
  Tribe Cheloneae (penstemon and allies)  
  Genus Penstemon (beardtongues)  
  Subgenus Penstemon  
  Section Coerulei  


  Penstemon bradburii  

Common Names


large beardtongue

large-flowered beardtongue

largeflowered penstemon










The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A modified stamen that produces no pollen. It often has no anther.

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    large-flowered beardtongue   large-flowered beardtongue  
    large-flowered beardtongue      


    large-flowered beardtongue   large-flowered beardtongue  
    large-flowered beardtongue      


    large-flowered beardtongue   large-flowered beardtongue  
    large-flowered beardtongue      


    large-flowered beardtongue      


    large-flowered beardtongue   large-flowered beardtongue  
    large-flowered beardtongue      



  Penstemon grandiflorus (Large Beardtongue)
Allen Chartier
  Penstemon grandiflorus (Large Beardtongue)  



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Other Videos
  Minnesota Native Plant - Showy Penstemon (Penstemon Grandiflorus)

Published on Jun 18, 2013

The Showy Penstemon, or Large-Flowered Beardtongue (Penstemon Grandiflorus) is the Minnesota native plant shown today. Thanks for viewing my native plant channel!






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