Penstemon gairdneri var. gairdneri
Synonyms: Penstemon gairdneri ssp. hians, Penstemon gairdneri var. hians
The photo above shows Gairdner's penstemon as seen in the Columbia Hills to the north of The Dalles, OR................May 14, 2006.
Gairdner's penstemon has several erect stems which rise up to 40 cm from a somewhat mat-forming base. The leaves are narrow to linear, entire, and alternate on the stems. They are finely pubescent and measure 1-7 cm long and 2-3 mm wide, and are generally not reduced in size upwards on the stem. This is the only penstemon with truly alternate leaves.
The inflorescence is a raceme or mixed raceme-panicle. It is few-flowered, or at least with 2 flowers per stem when they are present. The sepals are lanceolate to ovate, with acute tips. The corolla is lavender to purple or rose, with some white at the throat. The tube is narrow, and does not expand greatly. The five corolla lobes flare widely and are about 1/3 the length of the tube. The corolla is glandular within the throat and on the palate.
Variety gairdneri: Leaves alternate (A few may be opposite.)
Variety oreganus: Leaves opposite (occasionally with a few alternate leaves).
Gairdner's penstemon is found in dry, often rocky habitats. It may also be found in association with sagebrush.
Variety gairdneri is found throughout central Washington into northeastern Oregon and west on the ridgetops of the Columbia River Gorge to near The Dalles, OR.
Variety oreganus is found in the Blue and Wallowa Mts of Oregon eastward across the Snake River to western Idaho.