South Dakota Native Plant Research
Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon angustifolius

Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon angustifolius


Download Seed: The seeds of narrow beardtongue are 2.5-3.5 mm long and dark brown in color. (62 KB)

Download Seedling: Three month old seedling grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (64 KB)

Download Mature plant (1.0 MB)

Download Vegetative: The thick textured bracts of narrowleaf beardtongue are 3-10 cm long. (83 KB)

Download Flowering: The flower panicles are 5-15 cm long. (329 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Narrowleaf beardtongue, Broadbeard beardtongue

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ ȟláȟla


Penstemon angustifolius is a perennial herb arising from a short-branched caudex, with 1-10, ascending to erect stems, 15-50 cm tall, often with a waxy coating. The basal thick leaves are sessile to having a short, winged petiole, linear to oblanceolate, 4-9 cm long and 2-18 mm wide, the margins entire. The cauline leaves are simple, sessile, clasping, opposite, linear to lanceolate, 3-11 cm long and 2-24 mm wide, the tips pointed with entire margins. All of the leaves are generally covered with a blue waxy coating. The inflorescence consist of 5-15 opposite pairs of flower clusters on short, peduncles arising from leaf axils in the upper plant, each cluster with 4 to 8 short-pedicellate flowers. The calyx is smooth and waxy, sometimes with a few short hairs, with 5 lobes, 4-8 mm long. The bilabiate corolla is white to lavender to blue, tubular, 14-20 mm long, 4-6 mm wide with violet to red-purple nectar guides on the inside. The 3 lobes of the lower lip and 2 lobes of the upper lip are slightly reflexed with a few white hairs on the inside of the lower lip. There are 4-fertile (2-short, 2-Long) stamen and a sterile staminode, that is bearded with yellow hairs. The fruit is an ovoid capsule 9-14 mm long. Narrowleaf beardtongue blooms in May and June on open prairies and sandhills in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Broadbeard beardtongue produces beautiful flowers in the early spring making it useful for xeriscaping. It is a drought tolerant herb that is useful in erosion control and land reclamation. The seeds are used by birds, and the flowers attract native bees in large numbers.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in June and July 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 soils.

Light: Full sun

Water: Dry to medium dry.

Scrophulariaceae : Penstemon angustifolius