by Eleanor Dietrich
This wildflower (Penstemon multiflorus) gets part of its common name from the many (up to 30) white blossoms that bloom along the tall (up to 4 feet) flower stalks. There are often many of these plants blooming together and you may see them along sandy roadsides and in flatwoods. It may bloom as early as April and continue on through September, but June is a main time for it to flower. The white flowers are two-lipped and partially tubular. The flower gets the second part of its common name “beardtongue” from an infertile stamen (a staminode) that is a long straight hairy filament in the middle of the flower, so that it looks like an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue sticking out of it.