Beardtongue ~ Penstemon

trudi_dJanuary 1, 2013

Image by: wintersown

Penstemons are lovely wildflowers endemic to North America. Many are low growing species well suited to a rock garden, taller types will do well in a border garden. Penstemons have delicate flowers reminiscent of foxgloves, their color range include purply-blues, blue, plum, red, pink, white and rarely yellow.

Seed collection is easy. Penstemons make a brittle tear-shaped pod. On maturity it will turn brown and a minute opening will form at its exterior point. Inside the pods are dust-sized seeds. To collect the seeds cut short lengths of stems and place them upside down in a paper bag. Allow the pods to dry for a few days. Roll down the top of the bag and shake it to help remove the seeds from the pod. Open the bag, remove the stems and gently tear down the bag to its base. Carefully tap the seeds into a bowl.

For trade purposes, as the seeds are so small, it is useful to wrap amounts of them into small tissue packets and then place these inside larger exterior packets, or pack the seeds into press-n-seal bags. Otherwise, the dust-sized seed can easily spill from the opening in the packet top.

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