Page authors: Ben Legler, David Giblin
Microsteris gracilis
pink microsteris, slender phlox
Note the terminal (at tips of branch or stem) flowers with a yellow tube and 5 pinkish lobes. The glandular-hairy nature of this plant can be seen along the stems and leaves.
Note the branched stems arising from the taproot of this annual.
WTU specimens
Other herbaria
WTU images

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington, though more common east of the crest; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Habitat: Lowlands and foothills in open, dry to moderately moist places.

Flowers: March-June

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Simple to multi-branched, taprooted annual to 30 cm. tall. Plants hairy to hairy-glandular, at least on the upper half. Highly variable in appearance.


Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate. Leaves linear to elliptic in shape, to 5 cm. long. and 8 mm. wide.


Usually in pairs at the tips of stems and branches. One flower often attached by a slender stalk (pedicel), the other attached nearly directly to the stem or branch (subsessile). Each 5-15 mm. long flower composed of a fused tube that is white or yellowish, with 5 lavender to pink lobes that are separate from each other.



Accepted Name:
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene
Publication: Pittonia 3: 300. 1898.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Gilia gracilis Hook.
Gilia gracilis Hook. var. humilior (Hook.) H. St. John
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. humilis (Greene) Brand
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. gracilis [HC, IMF4]
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. humilior (Hook.) Cronquist [HC, IMF4]
Microsteris humilis Greene
Microsteris micrantha (Kellogg) Greene
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. gracilis [KZ99, JPM]
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. humilis (Greene) H. Mason [KZ99]
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. humilior (Hook.) B. Boivin
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Microsteris gracilis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Microsteris gracilis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Microsteris gracilis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Microsteris gracilis photos.

USDA Plants: Microsteris gracilis information.

66 photographs:
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