Penstemon /ˈpɛnstᵻmən/,the beardtongues, is a large genus of roughly 250 species North American and East Asian flowering plants. Formerly placed in the Scrophulariaceae family by the Cronquist system, new genetic research has placed it in the vastly expanded Plantaginaceae family.
A prominent, often hairy, staminode is the most distinctive feature of this genus, as in this Penstemon rupicolaflower
Golden-beard Penstemon (Penstemon barbatus)
Bellflower Beardtongue (Penstemon campanulatus)
Talus Slope Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis)
Lowbush Penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus)
Davidson's Penstemon (Penstemon davidsonii)
Lilac Penstemon (Penstemon gracilis)
Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus)
Penstemon hirsutus pubescens
Pineneedle Beardtongue (Penstemon pinifolius)
Littleflower Penstemon (Penstemon procerus)
Serrulate Penstemon (Penstemon serrulatus)
Prairie-clover (Penstemon speciosus)They have opposite leaves, partly tube-shaped, and two-lipped flowers and seed capsules. The most distinctive feature of the genus is the prominent staminode, an infertile stamen. The staminode takes a variety of forms in the different species; while typically a long straight filament extending to the mouth of the corolla, some are longer and extremely hairy, giving the general appearance of an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue protruding and inspiring the common name beardtongue.
Most penstemons are deciduous or semi-evergreen perennials, the remainder being shrubs or subshrubs. Heights can range from 10 cm to as much as 3 metres.
The one Asiatic species previously treated in Penstemon is now placed in a separate genus Pennellianthus. This leaves Penstemon a mostly nearctic genus, with a few neotropical species. Although widespread across North America, and found in habitats ranging from open desert to moist forests, and up to the alpine zone, they are not typically common within their range.
Thanks to wikipedia for the information
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