Rep. U.S. Mex. Bound. 2(1): 120. 1859.
Plants 4–12 cm. Leaves: basal 6–8, blade elliptic or spatulate, 35–120 x 10–30 mm, undivided or 1-pinnatifid or 2-pinnatifid, margins of adjacent lobes nonoverlapping or extensively overlapping distally, entire or 1-serrate or 2-serrate, surfaces glabrous or scattered abaxial glands; cauline 0–4, blade elliptic, sometimes lanceolate, 20–110 x 5–30 mm, 1-pinnatifid or 2-pinnatifid, margins of adjacent lobes overlapping distally, 1-serrate or 2-serrate, surfaces glabrous. Racemes simple, 1–4, not exceeding basal leaves, each 8–14-flowered; bracts spatulate, 40–60 x 3–6 mm, undivided proximally, undivided or 1-pinnatifid distally, proximal margins entire, distal 1-serrate or 2-serrate, surfaces glabrous, sometimes arachnoid along main veins. Pedicels 1–5 mm. Flowers: calyx 17–22 mm, glabrous, lobes 5, narrowly triangular, 4–7 mm, apex entire or serrate, glabrous or ciliate; corolla 28–40 mm, tube white or pale-purple, 15–30 mm; galea white or pale-purple, apically sometimes dark violet to purple, 13–15 mm, beakless, margins entire medially and distally, apex arching over abaxial lip; abaxial lip purple, 1–4 mm.
Ariz., Calif., Colo., N.Mex., Nev., Oreg., Utah
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).
The leaves of Pedicularis centranthera exceed the inflorescence, giving the impression that the cauline leaves are basal. Proximalmost basal leaves are distinct: brown, membranous, and spatulate with undivided and entire margins. Pedicularis semibarbata has similar basal leaves.
Pedicularis centranthera occurs in evergreen forests, often under pinyon pine, juniper, ponderosa pine, and yellow pine.