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Environmental Studies

Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox) Polemoniaceae

The Phlox divaricata, commonly known as the Woodland Phlox, is in the Polemoniaceae. Other common names for the Woodland Phlox: Wild Blue Phlox and the Wild Sweet William. Phlox divaricata is a favorite in the wild garden due to its attractive flowers in early spring that require little or no maintenance.  Woodland Phlox creates a spectacular image as a mass in an open woodland, it is great for the border of a shade garden, or just naturalized in sweeps at the base of large trees. 




 Physical Characteristics

 Flower | Seeds: Clusters of 3/4- to 1-inch flowers come in violet-blue to white shades. Within one colony, shades can vary from deep to pale. In addition to having fertile shoots, Woodland Phlox also produces infertile shoots that do not produce flowers. These infertile shoots appear to be very similar to the fertile shoots besides the length of their stems being shorter and the leaves have much more rounded tips.  The flower is also notorious for the scent it gives off. 

The preferred habitat for the Woodland Phlox to grow is light shade to partial sun, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. The fertile shoots die down after seeds have been produced, but the infertile shoots remain green for the remainder of the growing season.

Shape: The Woodland Phlox has slim, leafy stems that are about 1 foot tall. The flower can range in color from light blue-violet, lavender, or white. The calyx is usually a hairy green or reddish-green with 5 linear teeth. 


Ecological Characteristics

The Woodland Phlox can mostly be located growing wild around most of the Western portion of the United States; however it can be planted and will grow over a wide range of locations as well. 


Relationship With Other Species

The flowers on the Woodland Phlox are pollinated by long-tongued bees (especially bumblebees), bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and moths. These insects suck nectar from the flowers. Caterpillars and the Phlox Plant Bug have been known to feed off of the plant and that is how they gain their nutrients. Also, the foliage of the Woodland Phlox is used and eaten by various other species of animals, including rabbits, deer, and livestock.