IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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The fertile shoots of this perennial plant are about 1–1½' tall and unbranched, except near the apex where the flowers occur. The central stem of each fertile shoot is light green to reddish brown and pubescent to hairy; some of these hairs are sticky-glandular. Occasionally, 1-2 short side stems are produced from the axils of the upper leaves. The opposite leaves of the fertile shoots are up to 2½" long and ¾" across; they are narrowly lanceolate to ovate and sparsely short-pubescent to hairy. The margins of the leaves are smooth and ciliate, while at the base they are sessile or clasp the stem. In addition to the fertile shoots, Woodland Phlox also produces infertile shoots that do not produce flowers. These infertile shoots have a similar appearance to the fertile shoots, except that their stems are somewhat shorter and their leaves tend to have more rounded tips. Each upper stem of a fertile shoot terminates in a cluster of flowers spanning 2-3½" across. Each flower spans about 1" across. It consists of a light blue-violet, lavender, or white corolla with 5 spreading lobes that are fused together at its tubular base, and a hairy green or reddish green calyx with 5 linear teeth. The throat of the corolla is very narrow; the 5 stamens and pistil are inserted within. The spreading lobes are narrow toward the throat of the corolla, but become broader toward their tips (oblanceolate). For this subspecies of Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata laphamii), the tips of these lobes are rounded or bluntly angular; they are never deeply indented or cleft. The pedicels of the flowers are rather short and hairy. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about a month. The floral scent is pleasantly sweet and aromatic. Each flower is replaced by an ovoid seed capsule (4 mm. in length) containing several small seeds. The root system produces stolons that establish infertile shoots. Small colonies of clonal plants are often formed by means of these stolons.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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