Scorched penstemon (var. variabilus) from the Columbia Hills, north of The Dallesport, WA....6/11/95.
Hotrock penstemon is a dense, clump-forming pentemon, with a woody, much-branching base. It may attain a height from 20-40 cm. The leaves are mostly toothed. Variety variabilis may have entire to slightly toothed leaves. The basal leaves are up to 5 cm in length on short petioles. The stem leaves are sessile and clasping, and much reduced to bracts within the infloresence.
The inflorescence has several to many loose to densely crowded verticillasters. The sepals are 2.5-6 mm long with entire, thin, dry and green margins. The corollas are mostly white or cream, to very palely yellow. They may have or may lack red or purplish guide lines within the throat. The corolla is from 8 to 20 mm long, the tube being slightly expanded towards the throat, and with the upper lip petals being shorter than the lower lip petals. The anthers are spreading to opposite with the glabrous sacs splitting flat. The staminode is mostly glabrous or sparsely bearded at the tip in variety suffrutescens.
variety deustus: Leaves all opposite. Corolla 12-18 mm long. Staminode glabrous at the tip. The upper petal lobes white or cream-colored. Found from central Washington south through central Oregon and east to Idaho, southwestern Montana and northwest Wyoming.
variety pedicellatus: Leaves all opposite. Corolla 10-15 mm long. Staminode glabrous at the tip. The upper petal lobes brownish. Found from southeastern Oregon south to northeastern California and east to southwetern Idaho and northern Nevada.
variety suffrutescens: Leaves all opposite. Corolla less than 1 cm long. Staminode with a beard at the tip. Found from southwest Oregon south into northwestern California.
variety variabilis: A number of the leaves are 3-4 whorled at the nodes. The leaves have entire to minutely toothed edges near the tips. Found from Klickitat County in south-central Washington south to north-central Oregon.
Dry rocky places, rocky cliffs and outcrops, and grassy plains from the lowlands to subalpine areas.
Central Washington south through all but northwest Oregon, into northern California, and eastward through the Snake River basin of Idaho to western Wyoming, and south into northern Utah and Nevada.
Scorched penstemon (var. pedicellatus) from Oregon Highway 140 east of Lakeview, OR.......June 30, 1997.