General: Perennial herb from a superficial, woody stem-base, smooth throughout except for the flowers; often with short leafy mat-forming stems at the base, the flowering stems usually several, clumped, ascending to erect but often decumbent-based, (5) 10-40 cm tall, slender.
Leaves: Basal leaves stalked, lanceolate to spoon-shaped, 3-10 cm long, entire, sometimes poorly developed; stem leaves few, opposite, lanceolate, entire, unstalked, smaller than the basal leaves.
Flowers: Inflorescence a slender terminal cluster, compact and spike-like or interrupted below, of 1 to several dense whorls of several stalked flowers, the bracts entire; corollas narrowly tubular, 0.6-1.2 cm long, deep purple-blue but occasionally pinkish or yellowish-white, 2-lipped, smooth on the outside, hairy within at the throat; calyces 3-6 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes oblong to egg-shaped, gradually tapering to a sharp tip or abruptly sharp-pointed, minutely hairy, the margins often papery and ragged at least near the base; fertile stamens 4, the anthers smooth; sterile stamen about as long as the fertile stamens, yellow-bearded at its expanded tip.
Fruits: Capsules, 3-5 mm long; seeds numerous, 0.5-1 mm long.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC
1. Basal rosettes poorly developed; plants mostly 20-40 cm tall, usually with more than 1 whorl of flowers per stem; throughout range of the species................. var. procerus
1. Basal rosettes well developed; plants mostly 5-15 cm tall, usually with only 1 whorl of flowers per stem; SC BC, largely in the Cascade Mtns...................... var. tolmiei (Hook.) Cronq.
Dry to mesic meadows, grassy hillsides, rocky slopes, sandy banks, gravelly ridges and terraces, and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC, except the coast; var. procerus - N to AK and YT, E to SK and S to CO, UT, ID and OR; var. tolmiei - S to WA.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2022-08-11 4:29:04 AM
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