Phlox glaberrima L.

Smooth Phlox

Phlox glaberrima plant

Family - Polemoniaceae

Stems - From a small woody caudex, with many fibrous roots, erect, herbaceous, single from the base, terete, glabrous, green, to +1m tall, branching only in the inflorescence.

Phlox glaberrima stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, decussate, linear to linear-lanceolate, appearing entire but with fine antrorse teeth on the margins, attenuate, deep-shiny green above, light green below, with a single depressed midvein (expressed below), to +10cm long, 3-9mm broad.

Phlox glaberrima leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal corymbiform cyme. Each division of the inflorescence subtended by a linear subulate bract (bracts progressively reduced upward), with a few cilia on the margins or not. Pedicels to +1.6cm long, essentially glabrous.

Flowers - Corolla pinkish-purple, salverform. Corolla tube to -1.5cm long, -2mm in diameter, glabrous. Lobes 5, rounded to blunt at the apices, orbicular, to -1cm long and broad, glabrous. Stamens 5, adnate at different heights along the inside of the corolla tube. Filaments completely adnate to the corolla tube. Anthers ellipsoid, to 2mm long, yellow, included but often visible at the apex of the corolla tube. Style 1, included, to 5-6mm long, green, glabrous. Stigmas 3, yellow, +/-1.2mm long. Overy superior, green, glabrous, ovoid, 1.3mm long in flower, 1mm in diameter, subtended by a green ring-like nectary, 3-locular, with 3 ovules. Placentation axile. Calyx cylindric, 6-7mm long total, +/-2mm in diameter, of 5 united sepals. Sepals joined fro 2/3 of their length, the free portion 2-3mm long, acuminate. Sepals united by scarious-white tissue, otherwise green to red (in strong sun), glabrous in and out.

Phlox glaberrima calyxCalyx.

Phlox glaberrima flower

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Wet depressions on low woods, wet meadows, low prairies, fens.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This attractive species can be found mainly in the southeast corner of Missouri. The plant is fairly uncommon becasue of its moist habitat.
This is a striking plant - growing to over 1 meter and having a fairly large inflorescence. The plant can be confused with other species of Phlox but has long, thin, and shiny green leaves which help to identify it.

Photographs taken in Ripley County, MO., 6-5-04.