Random Plant: Wild blue phlox

Wild blue phlox photographed 05/09/2009 near Blissfield Michigan.

One of the more impressive wildflowers I come across in Michigan woodlands is wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata, Polemoniaceae).  The fragrant lavender flowers grow over an inch in diameter and often appear in dense groups.  These plants spread by rhizomes, leading to colonies of plants.  Each individual plant produces a cluster of flowers, and the clusters of many plants together create these attention-grabbing displays.

The petals of each flower fuse together at the center, creating a narrow tube leading to the nectary.  Pollinators able to reach this food source include butterflies and hummingbirds.  Their attraction to the flowers, as well as the flowers themselves, make this a desirable garden plant.  Several varieties are commercially available.

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
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