in A. Gray et al., Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2(1): 269. 1878. (as Pentstemon)
Herbs. Stems decumbent, ascending, or erect, 5–65 cm, glabrous or retrorsely hairy, sometimes also glandular-pubescent distally, not glaucous. Leaves basal and cauline, not leathery, glabrous; basal and proximal cauline 5–140 × 3–20 mm, blade spatulate to oblanceolate or elliptic, base tapered, margins entire, apex rounded to obtuse or acute; cauline 2–5 pairs, short-petiolate or sessile, 10–60(–70) × 1–14 mm, blade oblong to oblanceolate or lanceolate, base tapered to clasping, margins entire, apex obtuse to acute. Thyrses interrupted, cylindric, 1–12 cm, axis ± glandular-pubescent, verticillasters 1–6, cymes (1 or)2–6-flowered, 2 per node; proximal bracts lanceolate, 4–35 × 1–6 mm, margins entire; peduncles and pedicels erect, ± glandular-pubescent. Flowers: calyx lobes oblong to lanceolate, 4–6 × 0.7–1.2 mm, glandular-pubescent; corolla lavender to blue, violet, or purple, essentially without nectar guides, tubular-funnelform, 10–16 mm, glandular-pubescent externally, moderately yellow-pilose to yellow-lanate internally abaxially, tube 5–7 mm, throat slightly inflated, 3–5 mm diam., prominently 2-ridged abaxially; stamens: longer pair reaching orifice or slightly exserted, pollen sacs opposite, navicular, 0.6–0.8(–1) mm, dehiscing completely, connective splitting, sides glabrous, sutures smooth; staminode 6–9 mm, included, 0.3–0.6 mm diam., tip straight to recurved, glabrous or distal 1–3 mm sparsely to moderately pilose, hairs yellow, to 0.5 mm; style 9–12 mm. Capsules 4–6 × 2.5–3.5 mm, glabrous.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
Penstemon heterodoxus comprises three partially sympatric varieties centered in the Sierra Nevada of eastern California.
|1||Thyrse axes usually sparsely glandular-pubescent; n California.||Penstemon heterodoxus var. shastensis|
|1||Thyrse axes moderately to densely glandular-pubescent; e California, wc Nevada.||> 2|
|2||Stems 5–25 cm; basal and proximal cauline leaves 5–50 × 3–10 mm; verticillasters (1–)3; ec California, wc Nevada.||Penstemon heterodoxus var. heterodoxus|
|2||Stems 15–35 cm; basal and proximal cauline leaves (17–)20–75 × 6–18 mm; verticillasters 2–6; se California.||Penstemon heterodoxus var. cephalophorus|