Penstemon davidsonii forms low, dense mats of creeping stems. The flowering stems stand 5 to 10 cm and are covered with short hairs. The thick, evergreen leaves are arranged opposite from one another along the stem. Blue to purple flowers, are typical of the Scrophulariaceae family with a 25 to 35 mm long corolla tube opening to a hairy throat. The anthers of P. davidsonii are described as woolly. Individual flowers are arranged in a raceme of only a few. The fruits produce are leathery capsules reaching 8 to 10 mm long, containg slightly winged seeds.
Commonly found on rocky ledges, slabs and talus slopes of mid to high elevations.
The specific epithet as well as the common name (Davidson’s Penstemon) are name for Dr. George Davidson, the first collector of the species from a site in California. The Flora of the Pacific Northwest describes two varieties. Variety menziesii has serrulate leaves that are broadest at the center and have an acute apex. The plants of var. menziesii are also somewhat smaller and found in Washington, adjacent British Columbia and sometimes reaches southward to central Oregon. Variety davidsonii has entire leaves that are broadest above the center with a rounded apex. The geographic distribtuion of var. davidsonii includes California and the Cascades of Oregon, rarely foudn in Washington.
The above photo was taken on the slopes of Mount Washington in the Cascade mountain range of Oregon.
Hitchcock, C.L. and A. Cronquist (1994) Flora of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.
Pojar, J. and A. McKinnon (1994) Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Washington, Canada.