Showy Phlox

We have several species of phlox in Northeastern California where Leonard and I live. As some of the season’s earliest flowering plants, I always associate phlox with spring. Showy phlox (Phlox speciosa) is a native perennial found in dry forests and sagebrush flats throughout western North America from British Columbia to Arizona and New Mexico. It grows from a half to two feet in height.

The only phlox in our area with deeply notched petals, the branched stems of showy phlox derive from a woody taproot and a somewhat shrubby base, have opposite, long, lance-like leaves and are topped by a loose cluster of solitary flowers. The plant is glandular, particularly near the top of the stem. The five pink petals are fused into a trumpet with a long tube and a darker central ring. The corolla (flower) tube is a length longer than the sepals. Neither the stamens nor styles extend beyond the floral tube. Occasionally showy phlox is white or the central ring on a pink flower is light in color. Showy phlox reproduces by seeds which are contained in a capsule.

Lewis and Clark collected showy phlox in 1806.

These showy phlox were photographed along State Highway 139 near the Termo cutoff (Lassen County CA).

Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) is another member of this genus in our area (see: “Spreading Phlox” 05-14-12 and “Another Spring Wildflower – Finally” 03-20-13).

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2 Responses to Showy Phlox

  1. rockie96054 says:

    Very pretty!!!

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