Penstemon is a genus of around 276 species of deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen perennials or subshrubs in the Plantaginaceae family. They are native to North America and found in diverse habitats from open desert to damp woodlands, and up to the alpine zone. Commonly known as Beardtongues, they produce tall spires of showy tubular or open trumpet-shaped flowers in summer and early autumn. Easy to grow and propagate from cuttings, they are popular with bees and other pollinating insects, and there is a species to suit almost every garden style from the informal cottage to urban architectural. Penstemons have been cultivated and hybridised since the early 19th Century- this has resulted in many varieties with diverse flower colours, patterns and ranging in height from 10cm to 3m.