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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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Purple to lavender to violet, sometimes with faint reddish purple nectar guides.
DistributionUSA: AR , LA , MS , TX
Native Habitat: Gulf Coast prairies and marshes. Moist sand, loam, clay. Poor drainage okay.
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Showy, Blooms ornamental, Color, Long-blooming, Garden, Perennial garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-insects, Nectar-butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect seed in summer.
Commercially Avail: yes
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 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 ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Penstemon tenuis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon tenuis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon tenuis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff