Amer. Midl. Naturalist 74: 436, fig. 5. 1965.
Herbs. Stems ascending to erect, (10–)17–70 cm, ± retrorsely hairy proximally, also sparsely glandular-pubescent distally, not glaucous. Leaves basal and cauline, basal sometimes withering by anthesis, not leathery, glabrous (except for puberulent petioles and midveins); basal and proximal cauline (12–)25–87(–120) × (3–)5–18(–28) mm, blade lanceolate, base tapered, margins entire, apex obtuse to acute; cauline 4–6 pairs, short-petiolate or sessile, 17–98 × 2–16 mm, blade lanceolate to linear, base tapered to clasping, margins entire, apex acute. Thyrses interrupted, narrowly conic, (3–)11–30 cm, axis sparsely glandular-pubescent, verticillasters 3–8, cymes 2–4-flowered, 2 per node; proximal bracts lanceolate to linear, 10–45 × 1–5 mm, margins entire; peduncles and pedicels ascending, sparsely glandular-pubescent. Flowers: calyx lobes lanceolate, 3–6 × 1.4–2 mm, glandular-pubescent; corolla lavender to light blue, with reddish purple nectar guides, funnelform, 17–27 mm, glandular-pubescent externally, sparsely white- or yellowish lanate internally abaxially, tube 5–7 mm, throat gradually inflated, 6–7 mm diam., slightly 2-ridged abaxially; stamens included, pollen sacs opposite, navicular, 1.3–1.6 mm, dehiscing completely, connective splitting, sides glabrous, sutures papillate; staminode 12–14 mm, included, 0.3–0.4 mm diam., tip recurved, distal 7–8 mm moderately to densely pilose, hairs yellow-orange, to 1 mm; style 11–14 mm. Capsules 8–10 × 3.2–4 mm, glabrous. 2n = 16.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Aug(–Oct).
Habitat: Hillsides, meadows, pinyon-juniper woodlands, pine and pine-Douglas fir forests.
Elevation: 2000–3400 m.
Penstemon inflatus is concentrated in the Sangre de Cristo Range of north-central New Mexico, extending southward into the Sandia-Manzano Mountains. The species has been documented in Bernalillo, Colfax, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Taos, and Torrance counties.