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Penstemon cobaea facts for kids

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Penstemon cobaea
Penstemon cobaea 2.jpg
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
  • Pentstemon Cobaea Nutt.

Penstemon cobaea is a flowering plant in the plantain family, commonly known as cobaea beardtongue, prairie beardtongue or foxglove penstemon. The plant is native to the central United States, primarily the Great Plains from Nebraska to Texas, with additional populations in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. There are also populations reported in the southwestern United States as well as in Illinois and Ohio, but these appear to be introductions.


Penstemon cobaea grows on hillsides, gravel, rocky outcrops, and gypsum soils, and eroded pastures.


Fox Glove (Penstemon cobaea) on ranchland in the Blackland Prairie eco-region. County Road 269, Lavaca County, Texas, USA (19 April 2014)
Foxglove penstemon (Penstemon cobaea) on ranchland in the Texas Blackland Prairie eco-region. County Road 269, Lavaca County, Texas, USA (19 April 2014).

Penstemon cobaea is usually about 30 cm (1 foot) tall, occasionally as much as 60 cm (2 feet). Flowers has 5 lobes, with two large lobes on top and three small lobes on the bottom. The flowers have a structure reminiscent of a ribcage inside, and can be white or pink with magenta lines. The leaves of the plant are broad, at about 1.5 to 6 inches (3.8-15.0 cm) long and 0.5 to 2 inches (0.6-5.0 cm) wide.


The flowers of Penstemon cobaea will eventually become brown and black capsules, which contain the seeds. After planting, the seeds will take about two years to flower. It is good to leave 16 to 20 inches between plants when gardening, and lime is often needed in the soil.

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