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Penstemon cobaea Nutt.
Life   Plantae   Dicotyledoneae   Scrophulariaceae   Penstemon

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Associates · map
FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Apidae  Bombus auricomus @ AMNH_BEE (4)

Bombus griseocollis @ AMNH_BEE (1)

Bombus pensylvanicus @ AMNH_BEE (4)
Megachilidae  Hoplitis pilosifrons @ AMNH_BEE (3)
Reduviidae  Sinea diadema @ MEMU_ENT (1)

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Following modified from MissouriPlants.com
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Penstemon cobaea Nutt. - Purple Penstemon

Penstemon cobea plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - Single or multiple from the base, erect, herbaceous, to +70cm tall, terete, densely puberulent below, densely glandular puberulent above, mostly simple but branching in the inflorescence, light green.

Penstemon cobea stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, many on the stem, the lower leaves spatulate, upper leaves ovate, serrate, shiny dark green above, dull shiny green below, sparse puberulent above, more so below. Leaves abruptly reduced in the inflorescence (bracts). Lowest leaves to 15cm long, 3cm broad. Upper leaves 5-6cm broad and shorter.

Penstemon cobea leaves

Inflorescence - Axillary cymes in the upper leaf axils. Each division of the cymes subtended by a reduced ovate-lanceolate bract. Bracts densely glandular pubescent. Peduncles densely glandular pubescent. Pedicels glandular pubescent, 3-5mm long.

Flowers - Corolla purple, glandular pubescent externally, abruptly contracted at the base for about 1.5cm. Corolla tube +/-4cm long, 5-lobed at the apex. Lobes rounded, 2 upper and 3 lower, to 1.5cm long and broad. Corolla with darker purple stripes internally and some white at the throat on the lower 3 lobes. Stamens 4, didynamous, adnate at the base of the corolla tube, curved, resting against the upper portion of the corolla tube, included. Filaments white, +3.5cm long, glabrous. Anthers purplish (pale), 2-lobed, +4mm long, 3mm broad. Staminode 1, exserted past the stamens to the throat of the corolla tube, white, adnate at the apex of the apex of the contracted portion of the corolla tube on the dorsal portion, 3cm long, with long sub-retrorse hairs. Hairs of the staminode brown near the base of the staminode and white near its apex, glandular, 2-4mm long. Pistil 1, white, glabrous, +3cm long, thin, resting against the upper portion of the corolla tube and curved downward. Ovary green, glabrous, ovoid, +/-4mm long, +2mm in diameter. Calyx green, densely glandular puberulent, 5-lobed, the tube 2mm long. Lobes 1.1cm long, 5mm broad, acute, glabrous internally, oblong, green. Calyx lobes slightly overlapping.

Penstemon cobea corolla Corolla.

Penstemon cobea corolla Side view.

Penstemon cobea calyx Calyx.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Limestone glades, bald knobs, limestone mounds, cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species can be found growing wild in just a small handful of south-central Missouri counties. The plant is, however, widely cultivated and can be found throughout the state in gardens and landscapes. The big purple flowers are hard to miss. This species does well in a garden setting but apparently does not like much competition.

Photographs taken in Columbia, MO., 5-18-04.


Following modified from Plants Database, United States Department of Agriculture
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http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PECO4 ---> https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PECO4
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PECO4 ---> http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PECO4
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PECO4 ---> https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PECO4
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You are here: Home / Plant Profile

Penstemon cobaea Nutt.
cobaea beardtongue

Image of Penstemon cobaea

General Information
Symbol: PECO4
Group: Dicot
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit : Forb/herb
Native Status : L48   N
Data Source and Documentation
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Plants-NRCS Logos
green round image for nativity Native blue round image for introduced Introduced ocre round image for introduced and nativity Both white round image for no status Absent/Unreported
image for native, but no county data Native, No County Data image for introduced, but no county data Introduced, No County Data both introduced and native, but no county data Both, No County Data
Native Status:
lower 48 status L48    Alaska status AK    Hawaii status HI    Puerto Rico status PR    Virgin Islands status VI    Navassa Island NAV    Canada status CAN    Greenland status GL    Saint Pierre and Michelon status SPM    North America NA   


click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Penstemon thumbnails at the Plants Gallery

Clarence A. Rechenthin. Provided by USDA NRCS East Texas PMC (ETPMC) . Usage Requirements .

Clarence A. Rechenthin. Provided by USDA NRCS East Texas PMC (ETPMC) . Usage Requirements .

Clarence A. Rechenthin. Provided by USDA NRCS East Texas PMC (ETPMC) . Usage Requirements .

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 186. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society . Scanned by Omnitek Inc . Usage Requirements .



Symbol Scientific Name
PECOP3 Penstemon cobaea Nutt. ssp. purpureus (Pennell) Pennell
PECOT Penstemon cobaea Nutt. ssp. typicus Pennell
PECOP2 Penstemon cobaea Nutt. var. purpureus Pennell


Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.
Rank Scientific Name and Common Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Scrophulariales
Family Scrophulariaceae – Figwort family
Genus Penstemon Schmidel – beardtongue
Species Penstemon cobaea Nutt. – cobaea beardtongue

Subordinate Taxa

This plant has no children

Legal Status

Wetland Status

Interpreting Wetland Status

Related Links

More Accounts and Images
ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (PECO4)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (PECO4)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (PECOP2)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (PECOP3)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (PECOT)
Kemper Center for Home Gardening (PECO4)
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Information Network (PECO4)



Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds


Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds

Description of Values

Value Class Food Cover

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