downy phlox

(Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

downy phlox

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

 

 
Habitat

Dry. Upland woods, pine barrens, and prairies.

 
Flowering

April to June

     
Flower Color

White, pink to pale purple, or lavender

     
Height

6 to 24

     

Identification

This is a 6 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single flowering stem and usually one or more non-flowering stems from a taproot. It often forms clumps.

Flowering stems are unbranched below the inflorescence, and are covered with fine white hairs that are not sticky. Non-flowering stems are similar but smaller, and are erect or ascending.

The leaves are opposite, stalkless, linear to lance-shaped, 1 to 3 long, untoothed, and very narrow. They are rounded at the base and taper to a sharp, hardened tip.

The inflorescence is a flat-topped or round-topped, loosely branched cluster of 20 to 50 or more flowers at the end of the stem. The calyx is covered with fine, shiny or glossy hairs.

The flowers are ½ to ¾ wide. They have 5 white, pink to pale purple, or occasionally lavender, petals. The petals unite at the base forming a long, thin corolla tube, then separate into 5 long, widely spreading lobes. The lobes are inversely egg-shaped, tapering gradually to the throat. They are not notched at the tip. The stamens are visible at the opening of the corolla tube but do not extend beyond the tube.

The fruit is a 3-chambered, egg-shaped capsule with usually 1, rarely 2, seeds per chamber.

 
Similar
Species

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata ssp. laphamii) has wider leaves that do not narrow to a sharp, hardened tip. The petal lobes abruptly narrow before the throat. The stamens are not visible at the opening of the corolla tube.

Wild sweet William (Phlox maculata) has an unbranched, cylinder-shaped inflorescence.

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a tall, cultivated plant that can get to six feet tall.

Moss phlox (Phlox subulata ssp. subulata) is a prostrate ground cover with whorled, linear to awl-shaped leaves. The flower petals are notched at the tip. It is found in rocky areas and sandy or gravelly soil.

Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is much taller, has alternate, toothed leaves, and has flowers with four petals.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Polemoniaceae (phlox)

 

Subfamily:

Polemonioideae

 

Genus:

Phlox

 

Section:

Divaricatae

 
Synonyms

Phlox pilosa var. fulgida

 
Common
Names

downy phlox

hairy phlox

shining prairie phlox


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Plant

  downy phlox   downy phlox
       
  downy phlox    
       

Inflorescence

  downy phlox   downy phlox
       
  downy phlox   downy phlox
       

Flower

  downy phlox   downy phlox
       
  downy phlox   downy phlox
       
  downy phlox    
       

Four-lobed Corolla

  downy phlox   downy phlox
  Glynn Prairie SNA in 2009   Roscoe Prairie SNA in July, 2013
       
  downy phlox    
  Roscoe Prairie SNA in July, 2013    
       
 

Downy Phlox or Dame's Rocket?
Most sources note the similarity of downy phlox to dame’s rocket. The two can be distinguished, the sources say, by the number of corolla lobes: five for downy phlox and four for dame’s rocket. All sources, including Gleason & Cronquist (1991)41, state that the number of corolla lobes on downy phlox is five.

The three photos above show two downy phlox plants with only four corolla lobes. A third plant was seen at Cedar Rock SNA, July, 2013. In all cases, the four-lobed flower was the first flower on the plant to bloom, and no other flowers on the plant were in bloom. The cross-shaped arrangement of the lobes indicates that a fifth lobe was never present. The shape of the leaves, the shape of the flower cluster, and the dark spots (nectar guides) near the throat of the corolla, all show this to be downy phlox, not dame's rocket.

       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Prairie Phlox
J.Steinbock
 
  Prairie Phlox  
     
  Phlox pilosa fulgida PRAIRIE PHLOX
Frank Mayfield
 
  Phlox pilosa fulgida PRAIRIE PHLOX  

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Snowberry Clearwing
joanne fellows
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 31, 2012

This sphinx moth is feeding on Phlox pilosa.

 
     
  DSCN4936.MOV
dwhr69
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Nov 26, 2011

Phlox pilosa site in western Wisconsin.

 
     

 

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