Agalinis tenuifolia (Slender-leaved False Foxglove)

Plant Info
Also known as: Slender Gerardia, Slender Agalinis, Common False Foxglove
Family:Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:sun; along shores, wet meadows, wet thickets
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular

[photo of flowers] Single flowers on slender stalks ½ to ¾ inch long arise from leaf axils on many branching stems. Flowers are about ½ inch long and 1/3 inch across with 5 pink to purple finely hairy rounded lobes, fused into a shallow cup-like white throat spotted pinkish purple and greenish at the back. The 2 upper lobes form a hood over the white stamens, with the lower 3 lobes flaring open and slightly rolled back. The fused sepals forming the calyx have short sharply triangular teeth. Each flower only lasts a day or 2 before falling off. Only a few flowers per branch bloom at a time.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are linear, ¾ to 2 inches long, less than 1/8 inch wide, toothless, hairless, stalkless, with a prominent central vein, oppositely attached. Stems are angled and smooth to the touch. Leaves and stems can turn dark reddish purple in drier conditions.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a shiny globular capsule about ¼ inch across, containing many seeds.


Slender-leaved False Foxglove is a fine wispy plant that appears as a mist of flowers among the other grasses, sedges and forbs of the wet meadows it inhabits. As an annual it is not until later summer that its size fills in and stands out for the wanderer. It is easily confused with Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis purpurea) as it often shares the same habitat. The flowers of A. purpurea have a longer tube and its upper lobes flare out, but easiest way to differentiate the two species is the length of the flower stalk, which is only ¼ inch long or less on A. purpurea. Agalinis spp. is partially parasitic, though it is unknown (to me) which species are host plants. This trait has moved the Agalinis genus from the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family to the Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) family.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey and Anoka counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kenny h - Shooting Star Trail West of Rose Creek
on: 2017-08-18 10:01:31

YES...found in low moist area...prairie an ID from my Facebook plant group...not on distribution map for Mower county...pretty, dainty little thing 13 inches tall

Posted by: Tim Johnson - Hennepin County
on: 2018-08-19 15:23:04

Seen blooming in pond-side meadow alongside Obedient Plant and sedges with in the flood plain of the Mississippi River in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

Posted by: Anne Robinson - Rural Windom, Cottonwood County
on: 2018-08-25 13:31:57

Found three groupings on our farm near an old gravel pit. Airy and cheerful! We've never seen Them here before but it's been a super wet summer.

Posted by: Maureen Mulligan - Rock County
on: 2019-08-10 20:53:03

I'm not convinced this is the right spp. The fruits are not fully developed,but they don't look globose. They look more cylindrical. I'll check back once the fruit is more fully developed.

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