Bot. Gaz. 18. 302. 1893. (as Pentstemon)
Subshrubs, cespitose. Stems ascending to erect, 5–18 cm, puberulent to retrorsely hairy, usually in lines proximally, not glaucous. Leaves deciduous, sometimes persistent, 2–6 pairs, distals seldom distinctly smaller than proximals, petiolate or sessile, (5–)10–42 × 4–15 mm, blade obovate to ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, base tapered to clasping, margins ± crenulate-serrulate, apex obtuse to acute, glabrous, not glaucous. Thyrses continuous, cylindric to ± secund, 1–4 cm, axis glandular-pubescent, verticillasters 2–4, cymes 1-flowered; proximal bracts ovate to lanceolate, (4–)8–25 × 3–17 mm; peduncles and pedicels ascending to erect, glandular-pubescent. Flowers: calyx lobes lanceolate, 8–15 × (1.8–)2.5–3.7 mm, glandular-pubescent; corolla violet to purple, unlined internally but abaxial ridges usually light violet to whitish, not personate, funnelform, 27–40 mm, glabrous externally, sparsely to moderately white-lanate internally abaxially, tube 5–8 mm, throat 8–11 mm diam.; stamens included, pollen sacs 1.1–1.3 mm; staminode 9–16 mm, flattened distally, 0.3–0.4 mm diam., tip straight, glabrous or distal 1–3(–13) mm sparsely to moderately villous, hairs yellow, to 1.3 mm; style 25–28 mm. Capsules 8–11 × 6–8 mm. 2n = 16.
Phenology: Flowering May–Aug(–Sep).
Habitat: Cliffs, ledges, rock outcrops, talus slopes.
Elevation: 900–2700 m.
Alta., B.C., Idaho, Mont., Wash.
Penstemon ellipticus is known from the Canadian, Northern, and Middle Rocky mountains, including the Columbia Mountains.