Phlox divaricata L. - Sweet William, Blue Phlox

Phlox divaricata plant

Family - Polemoniaceae

Stems - Vegetative stems decumbent. Flowering stems erect to ascending, to 40cm tall. Both types typically densely pubescent to glabrous. Plants rhizomatous.

Phlox divaricata stem

Leaves - Of fertile shoots - opposite, sessile, lanceolate, decussate, spaced +/-5cm apart, to 5cm long, 2cm wide, variously pubescent, entire. Of sterile shoots - elliptic to narrowly oblong.

Phlox divaricata leaves Leaves of fertile shoots.

Phlox divaricata leavesLeaves of sterile shoots.

Inflorescence - A fairly compact cyme, sometimes paniculate.

Flowers - Corolla lavender to purple, with tube to 2cm long, glabrous. Corolla lobes 5, spreading, spatulate to obovate, to 2cm long, 1cm wide. Stamens 5, unequal in corolla tube. Calyx tube to 3mm long, densely pubescent to glabrous. Calyx lobes 5, to +3mm long.

Phlox divaricata flowersFlowers.

Phlox divaricata calyxCalices.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Open woods, slopes, moist ground.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is the most common species of Phlox found in the state. It is one of the earliest blooming plants in spring also. The corolla is typically light blue-purple but can vary in color from rose to white. A white flowered form can be seen in the "White Flowers Opposite Page" of this website.
In the glossary you will find the word "divaricate" which means "widely spreading", thus the species name of this plant because of its spreading nature.
Most descriptions of the plant give the stems as glabrous but every plant I have found has been from sparsely pubescent to hirsute.

Photographs taken off Northwood Rd., Platte County, MO., 4-7-00, and near Van Buren, MO., 4-15-01.


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