Penstemon Calycosus OR''

Penstemon Calycosus OR''

Penstemon Calycosus

The Calico Beardtongue plant has the same form as the more common Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) but it has pink flowers and can tolerate more shade. Calico Beardtongue prefers rich loamy soils, and moist to mesic conditions. Calico Beardtongue can be found in open rocky woodlands, oak savannas, black soil prairies, and moist meadows.Penstemon calycosus is one of the host plants of the Chalcedon Checkerspot and Edith's Checkerspot. Long-tongued bees are the most frequent pollinators, but other visitors include honeybees, bumblebees, mason bees, and leaf-cutting bees. Hummingbirds sometimes visit the Penstemons as well.


An elongated panicle of flowers occurs at the apex of the central stem, and smaller panicles of flowers may occur on upper side stems. The stems of each inflorescence (peduncles and pedicels) are usually covered with fine white hairs. Each tubular flower is about 1" long, with 2 upper lobes and 3 lower lobes; the lower lobes do not project outward any further than the upper lobes. On the outer surface, the corolla is light violet or purple and covered with fine hairs, while the inner surface is white. The lower inner surface of the corolla is smooth and lacks ridges. The anthers and style are inserted within the corolla. The calyx of this penstemon is divided into rather long linear-lanceolate segments that are about 1/3" (8 mm.) long.

The blooming period occurs during late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent. The flowers are replaced by small capsules containing numerous seeds. These small seeds can be carried several feet by gusts of wind. The root system consists of a taproot. The flowering stalk dies down after the blooming period, although it is replaced by low basal leaves that persist until the spring of the following year.The native Long-Sepal Penstemon occurs occasionally in eastern and southern Illinois, but it is rare or absent in northwestern areas of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include open rocky woodlands, woodland borders, oak savannas, moist meadows within woodlands, pastures, black soil prairies, and edges of old cemeteries. This species appears in both high quality habitats and more disturbed areas. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)



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