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Penstemon tenuis (Brazos penstemon)
Smith, R.W.

Penstemon tenuis

Penstemon tenuis Small

Brazos Penstemon, Brazos Beardtongue, Gulf Penstemon, Gulf Beardtongue, Gulf Coast Penstemon, Gulf Coast Beardtongue, Sharp-sepal Penstemon, Sharp-sepal Beardtongue

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: pete3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Purplish blooms adorn the flower spikes of Penstemon tenuis like little bells. This species makes a fabulous cut flower. Native to coastal and riverine environments in southeastern North America from southeastern Texas to Mississippi and north to Arkansas, it grows well in moist perennial beds and borders, where it has the potential to reseed freely. It is good to plant in combination with Yellow columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha), which, though native to streamside environments in southwestern North America, has similar requirements and bloom period.


From the Image Gallery

33 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Purple to lavender to violet, sometimes with faint reddish purple nectar guides.


USA: AR , LA , MS , TX
Native Habitat: Gulf Coast prairies and marshes. Moist sand, loam, clay. Poor drainage okay.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy.
Conditions Comments: Tiny purple blooms adorn Gulf Coast Penstemon's flower spikes like little bells. This species makes a fabulous cut flower. Grows well in moist perennial beds and borders. Has the potential to reseed freely. It is a good to plant in combination with yellow columbine, which has the same requirements and bloom period.


Use Ornamental: Showy, Blooms ornamental, Color, Long-blooming, Garden, Perennial garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-insects, Nectar-butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect seed in summer.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Penstemon tenuis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon tenuis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon tenuis


Record Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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