Herbs. Stems ascending, (8–)10–40 cm, glabrous or retrorsely hairy, not glaucous. Leaves essentially cauline, basal usually poorly developed, not leathery, glabrous; basal and proximal cauline 10–40(–65) × 1–6 mm, blade oblanceolate, base tapered, margins entire, apex obtuse to acute; cauline 3–5 pairs, sessile or proximals short-petiolate, 12–60 × 2–5(–7) mm, blade oblanceolate to lanceolate or linear, base tapered, margins entire, apex acute. Thyrses interrupted, cylindric, 1–14 cm, axis glabrous or ± puberulent at axils, verticillasters (1 or)2–6, cymes (1–)3–7-flowered, 2 per node; proximal bracts lanceolate to linear, 8–30(–45) × 1–7 mm, margins entire; peduncles and pedicels erect, glabrous. Flowers: calyx lobes obovate to ovate, 1–1.8 × 0.7–1.1 mm, apex truncate to cuspidate, glabrous; corolla violet to blue or purple, without nectar guides, funnelform, 7–9(–11) mm, glabrous externally, moderately yellowish or white-pilose internally abaxially, tube 3–4 mm, throat slightly inflated, 2–3 mm diam., 2-ridged abaxially; stamens included or longer pair reaching orifice, pollen sacs opposite, explanate, 0.3–0.4(–0.5) mm, dehiscing completely, connective splitting, sides glabrous, sutures smooth; staminode 4–6 mm, included, 0.3–0.4 mm diam., tip straight, distal 0.5–1 mm sparsely to moderately pilose, hairs yellow, to 0.4 mm; style 5–6 mm. Capsules 2.5–4 × 1.8–2.5 mm, glabrous. 2n = 16, 32.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Aug.
Habitat: Dry, volcanic soils in sagebrush openings in pine forests.
Elevation: 1000–2600 m.
Penstemon cinicola occurs along the eastern flank of the Cascade Range in central Oregon (Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Klamath, and Lake counties) south to northern California (Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties).