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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Penstemon smallii Heller
Small's beardtongue, Small's penstemon
USDA Symbol: PESM
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Numerous, tube-shaped, dark-pink, white-throated flowers are borne on upright, branched stalks up to 2 1/2 ft. high. Differing from other eastern penstemons, the flowering branches extend down into the axils of the leafy stems, giving the plant a bushy appearance. The shiny, opposite leaves have attractive, dark veins and clasping, heart-shaped bases. The basal rosette of leaves turns reddish-bronze in the winter.
Smalls Beardtongue blooms for up to four weeks, much longer than other eastern penstemons. It occurs naturally in places that are in shade for half the day, but also tolerates full sun. A popular flower in mountainous regions of the South.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Root Type: Tap Size Notes:
18 to 30 inches Flower:
Flowers 1.5 inches long
Tan Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: lavender colored
AL , GA , NC , SC , TN Native Distribution:
Mountains of NC &TN to AL Native Habitat:
Wood margins; exposed or shaded cliffs & banks USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Light, well-drained soil or sandy and rocky OK. Acidic preferred.
Conditions Comments: Likes moist soil but doesnt like excessive wetness.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Grows in sun and part shade
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Root Division , Seeds Description:
Sow seeds immediately outdoors. Most will wait to germinate until spring. Stem
cuttings may be taken in early summer, after flowering, and stuck in sand:perlite. Division is the easiest method of increase. Separate crowns in fall or early spring. Seed Collection:
Seeds are ready for collection about 6-8 weeks after flowering. Fruiting stems should be collected when the capsules are darkened and contain dark seeds. Allow seeds to air-dry several days. Store in sealed, refrigerated container. Commercially Avail:
Short-lived, so resow seed every 2 or 3 years for a continuous population.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Tohono Chul Park, Inc.
- Tucson, AZDelaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DE
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2009-01-31
Research By: TWC Staff