Botanical Name: Penstemon australis
Common Name: Pink Beardtongue, Pink Penstemon, Slender Beardtongue, Southern Beardtongue, Eustis Lake Beardtongue, Eustis Lake Penstemon, Sandhill Beardtongue
Description: This beautiful Florida native perennial is easy to grow in sandy, low nutrient, well-drained soil in sun, part sun, or part shade. Its small, about 1″, flowers are pink/deep rose/purple in color on the outside and white on the inside. Clusters of flowers grow on multiple stems that 1-3′ tall. Over the course of a blooming season, each plant might send up a dozen flower stalks or more. The flowers bloom spring to fall. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Is a host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly and supports the specialized bee Osmia distincta. Its native habitat is sandhill, secondary woods, flatwoods. Heat and drought tolerant. Rabbit resistant.
Each plant consists of one or more flowering stems formed from a rosette of leaves. Those leaves are smooth, rounded with a tapered base, and toothed. The upper stem leaves (Cauline) are lance-shaped (narrowing at both ends) with sparsely toothed margins.
The flowers are tubular shaped and two-lipped. The upper lip is 2-lobed, the lower is 3-lobed. The blooms are pink to rose-purple on the outside and white with dark purple lines on the inside. The staminode (non-functional stamen) protrudes from the flower, similar to a tongue from an open mouth, giving rise to the common name ‘beard tongue.’
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.
Plant Lore: Pink Beardtongue is a member of the figwort or snapdragon family (family Scrophulariaceae), which includes mostly herbs, sometimes shrubs, rarely trees, often with showy flowers. There are about 220 genera and 3,000 species occurring nearly throughout the world.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9