Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox)
|Also known as:||Woodland Phlox, Blue Wood Phlox|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; rich woods|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||10 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A flattish cluster about 3 inches across at the top of the stem. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across with 5 petals fused at the base, forming a long, slender tube; hidden inside the tube are 5 stamens and a short style. The petals are narrow at the base; the tip end is wider and round or slightly indented. Color ranges from pale blue to blue-violet to reddish purple, occasionally white.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and to ½ inch wide, toothless, tapering to a blunt or pointed tip, rounded at the base, and stalkless. Surfaces are finely hairy, with short fine hairs along the edges. Attachment is opposite, with leaf pairs at right angles to the pair above and below and widely spaced on the stem. Stems are mostly erect, unbranched except in the flowers, and may be somewhat sticky from glandular hairs. On non-flowering plants, the leaves may be wider, rounded at the tip end, and less hairy overall.
Fruit is an oval capsule about 1/6 inch long, shorter than the calyx.
The flowers make a nice contrast with the lush green of spring growth in woodlands across the southern half of the state, and does well in a shade garden. There are two recognized varieties (or subspecies, depending on the reference) of Wild Blue Phlox: var. divaricata, found from Illinois eastward, has flowers with petals notched at the tip, and var. laphamii, covering much of the eastern half of North America, including Minnesota, without the notches.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and in Goodhue County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue County.
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