Many-flowered  Breadtongue

46

The Many-flowered Breadtongue, Penstemon multiflorus, is a member of the Plantaginacae (Plantin Family). This species dwells in the well-drained soils of sandhills, pinelands and disturbed sites in just about every county in the State including Lee. Mulltiflorus is a multi branched perennial that grows to a height of about four feet.  Stems are round, reddish and glabrous (free of hairs). At the base of the plant is a basal rosette. Stem leaves are sessile (without a leaf stem). Leaves are arranged in an opposite order on the stems. The grayish-green leaves are elliptic to lanceolate in shape and 4 to 6 inches in length. Leaf margins are entire (smooth).

At the tips of the stems are clusters of one inch long white bell shaped flowers and countless greenish red flower buds waiting to open. The flower’s corolla is made up of five fused petals.  Dangling from the center of the corolla are four white stamens and one staminode (a sterile stamen).  The female sex organs are further up in the flower. Inflorescence (flower arrangement) is a cyme which is a combination of three flowers that comes from a single flower stem. When in full bloom, multiflorus can easily support more than 100 open flowers.

The specimen in the picture was found in the Box Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.