Foxglove Beardtongue: A Current Favorite

Nature’s annual cycle means that, at any given time during the wildflower season, I can rely upon the experience from other years to know which flowers I am likely to find on my walks in Detroit’s Eliza Howell Park.

However, while I know what to expect in terms of probable species, no two years are fully alike.

I often find that my attention is drawn to a species that I paid much less attention to in previous years. Right now, I find myself focused on Foxglove Beardtongue more than any other flower and more than I have been in other years.

Resized_20200620_141223(1)Foxglove Beardtongue, sometimes known as Foxglove Penstemon, stands about 3 feet tall and does well both in sunshine and in part shade. It is widespread at present in some non-mowed park fields and in openings among large trees.

I am attracted particularly to the tubular flowers.


As can be seen from these last two photos, the flowers on some plants have violet lines; on some they do not. I am not sure which I find more attractive. The important question, of course, is which do bees find more attractive. I don’t have the answer to that either.

Resized_20200620_140805Foxglove Beardtongue is native in the eastern U. S. For a late Spring / early Summer flower, it has a relatively long blooming time. It would be, perhaps, an excellent addition to a native flower garden.

Resized_20200620_120724At this time of the year, it stands taller than many neighboring plants in some locations in the park, calling for the attention that, in my opinion, it deserves.

Resized_20200620_155946The field view is attractive, but I find myself repeatedly going in for closer looks at my current favorite Eliza Howell wildflower.

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