Turtle head or woodland beardtongue is a near-relative of the genus Penstemon. It is a perennial with several stems rising from a woody root crown, the stems erect to lax and measuring from 40-80 cm long. The herbage is smooth to very finely haired. All the leaves are found on the stems. They are opposite, and al are thin, green, lanceolate to ovate in shape. Attachment to the stems is via short petioles, and the margins are toothed. The leaves range up to 11 cm in length.
The inflorescence is a glandular panicle. The calyx is 6-10 mm long with the sepals lance-shaped and entire. The corolla is tubular, somewhat flattened, and with small glands on the outside. The corollas are a bright pinkish purple, and range from 2.5-3.3 cm long. The anther sacs are densely woolly and split their full length. The staminode is bearded its full length.
Turtle head is a wildflower of woodlands and moist, open, rocky slopes from sea level to near 8000 ft..
Turtle head may be found from northern Washington and southern Vancouver Island south to the west of the Cascade crest to northwestern California.
In the Columbia River Gorge, turtle head may be found between the elevations of 100'-4500' from Wahkeena Falls east to just west of Hood River, OR.