Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Phlox speciosa
showy phlox

Distribution: Widely distributed east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Shrub-steppe, often with sagebrush, and in ponderosa pine forest openings.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from a woody taproot, 1.5-4 dm. tall, shrubby at the base and usually glandular above.


Leaves opposite, linear to broadly lanceolate, up to 7 cm. long and 1 cm. wide.


Inflorescence a loose, few-flowered cluster, leafy-bracteate at least below; calyx with nearly flat, translucent intervals between the herbaceous segments, 5 lobed; corolla pink to white, the tube 1-1.5 cm. long, scarcely surpassing the calyx, the 5 lobes 1-1.5 cm. long, usually notched at the tip; style very short, 0.5-2 mm. long, often shorter than the 3 linear stigmas; ovary superior.


Capsule 3-celled, with one seed in each cell.

Identification Notes:

The very short style separates P. speciosa from the similar P. longifolia, whose style is at least 5 mm. long; also, P. speciosa usually has notched petals, P. longifolia usually doesn\'t.

Accepted Name:
Phlox speciosa Pursh
Publication: Fl. Amer. Sept. 1: 149. [1813]. 1814.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Phlox speciosa Pursh ssp. lanceolata (E.E. Nelson) Wherry
Phlox speciosa Pursh ssp. lignosa Brand
Phlox speciosa Pursh ssp. nitida (Suksd.) Wherry [JPM]
Phlox speciosa Pursh ssp. occidentalis (Durand ex Torr.) Wherry
Phlox speciosa Pursh ssp. speciosa
Phlox speciosa Pursh var. nitida Suksd.
Phlox speciosa Pursh var. occidentalis (Durand ex Torr.) M. Peck
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Phlox speciosa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Phlox speciosa checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Phlox speciosa atlas page.

CalPhotos: Phlox speciosa photos.

USDA Plants: Phlox speciosa information.

66 photographs:
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