Despite its species name, mertensia arizonica
is most abundant in Utah; in Arizona it occurs only in the far north, in Coconino county. Leaves are relatively large, hairless, widest towards the base, with a prominent center vein and branched side veins. Upper stem leaves are only slightly smaller than those below. Basal leaves (not always present) are more ovate in shape, and stalked. Leaves are greyish-green, somewhat glaucous. Plants produce one stem or several.
Flowers are in open, nodding clusters, on arching stalks from the top of the stem and the upper leaf nodes. The corolla is pink in bud, later blue, and up to 0.8 inches long. The corolla lobes are markedly longer than the tube. The green calyx is at most 0.3 inches long, lobed to about half its length. The margins are finely ciliate, otherwise the calyx is hairless.