General: perennial, more or less tufted from a loose or compact, woody rhizome-base at the surface, 5-40 cm tall, slender-stemmed, essentially hairless throughout, or with short-hairy sepals.
Leaves: deep green, entire, the basal ones stalked, oblanceolate to elliptic or ovate, up to 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, often poorly developed or absent. Stem leaves opposite, few, mostly stalkless, up to 8 cm long and 2 cm wide, often much smaller, especially when the basal leaves are well developed.
Flowers: cluster of few very dense whorls, the flowers more or less nodding. Calyx 3-6 mm long, the segments with slender points, the edges tending to be membranous and often ragged. Corolla deep blue-purple, 6-11 mm long, the tube narrow, 2-3 mm wide at the mouth, the limb more or less spreading, the palate and the thickened tip of the staminode bearded. Pollen sacs 0.3-0.7 mm long, hairless, rounded, becoming opposite and spread out straight.
Fruits: capsules 4-5 mm long, seeds about 1 mm long.
Dry meadows and open or timbered slopes from the foothills to above timber line, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from AK and Yukon to CA and CO.
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