Large Beardtongue (Grandiflorus)

The Large Beardtongue (Grandiflorus) is generally described as a perennial forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: Native Americans treated toothache by chewing the root pulp of plants in this genus and placing it in the cavity (Runkel & Roosa 1989). The Navajo applied a wet dressing of pounded leaves of large beardtongue to rattlesnake bites; they considered this an absolute antidote (Ibid.). A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of chills and fevers (Moerman 1998).

General Characteristics

General: Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). Large beardtongue is a native perennial that grows up to four feet tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate to oblong, thick and fleshy; bluish-green with a waxy blue sheen and clasping at the base. The large two inch, pale purple flowers are five lobed and short lived (Runkel & Roosa 1989). The fruits are woody, egg shaped capsules that contain numerous small, angular, brown seeds (Freeman & Schofield 1991).

Required Growing Conditions

Large beardtongue ranges from Wyoming to Texas, east to Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma (Steyermark 1963). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Penstemon grandiflorus is commonly found in prairies, often in sandy or loamy soils. This plant prefers acid, neutral and alkaline soils and requires well-drained soils. It grows well when planted in open dry situations (Steyermark 1963), and can grow in semi-shade or no shade.

Cultivation and Care

Propagation by Seed: Penstemon grandiflorus seeds are best sown in the fall or spring in a greenhouse (Heuser 1997). The seeds should germinate within one to four months (Ibid.). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, place them into individual pots and plant them out in their permanent positions in the late spring.

General Upkeep and Control

Stem tip cuttings should be taken from the tips of healthy non-flowering, semi-mature or mature shoots, between early summer and fall (Heuser 1997). Shoots can be cut into a number of usable sections at almost any time during the growing period (Ibid.).

Plant Basics
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA