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For Your Garden - August 2012

Have you been meaning to add a few native plants to your garden? Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

foxglove beardstongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Foxglove beardstongue is found in woods and thickets statewide. It blooms from May through July. The plant grows to one to three feet in height. Leaves are opposite, and the base of the leaf clasps the stem. A leaf may be six inches long and two and one-half inches wide. Flower stalks arise in pairs from the base of the upper leaves. A member of the snapdragon family, this plant has white, tube-shaped flowers that have an upper two-lobed lip and a lower three-lobed lip. The name “beardstongue” was given because of the presence of a sterile, fuzzy stamen that looks like a beard.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Scrophulariaceae

Illinois Status: common, native