Penstemon hirsutus – Penstemon
Penstemon hirsutus – Penstemon

Erect, hairy stems, usually several from the same rhizome, are 16-24 in. tall. Leaves are oblong. A woolly-stemmed plant with open, stalked clusters of lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers with white lips. The tubular, lipped flowers are very slender, about an inch long, and pale-violet flowers. The mouth is nearly closed by the arched base of the lower lip.

The Beardtongues are a very large group, and taxonomically so complex that separating the species is often difficult. This species is readily distinguished, however, by the downy nature of the stem. The common and scientific names refer to the tufted sterile stamen.


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Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum
Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prune immediately after flowering since flower buds form in summer for the following year.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arrowwood viburnum is an upright, rounded, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub which typically matures to 6-10′ tall with a similar spread, but may reach a height of 15′ in optimum growing conditions. Non-fragrant white flowers in flat-topped corymbs (to 4″ diameter) appear in late spring. Flowers give way to blue-black, berry-like drupes which are quite attractive to birds and wildlife. Ovate, toothed, glossy dark green leaves (to 4″ long). Variable fall color ranges from drab yellow to attractive shades of orange and red. Although widespread in eastern North America, this native plant is only known to exist in the wild in Missouri on wooded slopes along the Salt River in Shelby County. Native Americans reportedly used the straight stems of this shrub for arrow shafts, hence the common name.


No serious insect or disease problems.

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