wild sweet William

(Phlox maculata ssp. maculata)

Conservation Status
wild sweet William
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

Special Concern

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Wild sweet William is a 16 to 36 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a shallow, slender rhizome.

The stems are unbranched, spotted or streaked with purple, and hairless or covered with minute, short hairs.

There are 10 to 15 pairs of opposite leaves on the stem. They are 3 to 4 long, and up to ¾ wide. The lower leaves are narrowly lance-shaped to linear and stalkless. The upper leaves are lance-shaped to oblong egg-shaped and clasp the stem at the base. The margins are untoothed and usually hairless. The upper surface is dark green and often glossy. The lateral veins are obscure.

The inflorescence is a cylinder-shaped or narrowly cone-shaped cluster of about 100 flowers at the end of the stem and in the upper leaf axils. The clusters in upper leaf axils are on short stalks, giving the overall appearance of a single, cylinder-shaped, terminal inflorescence.

The calyx is hairless.

The flowers are ½ to 1 wide and fragrant. They have 5 purple, pink, or white petals. The petals unite at the base forming a long, thin corolla tube, then separate into 5 long, widely spreading lobes. The petal lobes are overlapping, almost round, and are not notched at the tip. The stamens are visible at the opening of the corolla tube but do not extend far beyond the tube.

The fruit is a 3-chambered, egg-shaped capsule with 1 or several seeds per chamber.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

16 to 36

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Purple, pink, or white

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a cultivated plant that can get to six feet tall. The stems are more leafy, with 15 to 40 pairs of opposite leaves. Upper leaves are not quite opposite. The leaves are conspicuously veined. Leaf margins have bristly hairs. The inflorescence is rounded.

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata ssp. laphamii) is a smaller plant, 9 to 18 tall at maturity. The petal lobes abruptly narrow before the throat. The stamens are not visible at the opening of the corolla tube.

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) has alternate, toothed leaves and flowers with four petals.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Lowland woods, wet meadows. Full or partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  1/8/2012      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Ericales (heathers, balsams, primroses, and allies)  
 

Family

Polemoniaceae (phlox)  
  Subfamily Polemonioideae  
 

Genus

Phlox (phlox)  
  Section Phlox  
  Species Phlox maculata (wild sweet William)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
       
       
 

Synonyms

 
  Phlox maculata var. odorata  
       
 

Common Names

 
 

meadow phlox

northern meadow phlox

spotted phlox

wild sweet William

wild sweetwilliam

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Calyx

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

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

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.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 
 
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Plant

 
    wild sweet William   wild sweet William  
           
 

Inflorescence

 
    wild sweet William   wild sweet William  
           
 

Flowers

 
    wild sweet William      
           
 

Flower

 
    wild sweet William      
           
 

Stem

 
    wild sweet William      
           

 

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