South Dakota Native Plant Research
Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon albidus

Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon albidus


Download Seed: The black seeds of white beardtongue are 2-3 mm long. (61 KB)

Download Seedling: Three month old seedling of white beardtongue grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (67 KB)

Download Mature plant (1.8 MB)

Download Flowers (1.2 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

White beardtongue, white penstemon

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ hú sluslúta


Penstemon albidus is a perennial herb arising from a short-branched caudex, with 1-5 hairy, ascending to erect stems, 15-50 cm tall. The basal leaves are petiolate, lanceolate to obovate, 2-10 cm long and 7-20 mm wide, the margins entire to finely toothed. The cauline leaves are simple, sessile, opposite, lanceolate to lance-ovate, 2.5-6.5 cm long and 7-20 mm wide, the tips pointed with entire to finely toothed margins. The inflorescence consist of 3-10 opposite pairs of flower clusters on short, peduncles arising from leaf axils in the upper plant, each cluster with 2 to 7 short-pedicellate flowers. The calyx is covered with glandular hairs, with 5 lobes, 4-7 mm long. the weakly bilabiate corolla is white to light pink, funnel-shaped, 6-8 mm wide with red-purple nectar guides on the inside. The lower lip has 3 nearly equal, downward pointing lobes, the upper lip is erect, with 2 lobes only slightly smaller than the lower lobes. There are 4-fertile (2-short, 2-Long) stamen and a sterile staminode. The fruit is an ovoid capsule 8-12 mm long. White beardtongue blooms from April into July on open prairies and hillsides throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

White beardtongue is an attractive flower of medium height. It does well in xeriscapes and native prairie gardens. They are easy to grow and the flowers attract native bees.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in May to August when they turn dark brown or black in color.

Germination: Fall sow or cold moist stratification for 60 days before spring planting.

Soils: Sandy loam, sand, or gravel, well drained.

Light: Full sun

Water: Dry to medium dry.

Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon albidus