[The Phlox of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Synonyms: Gilia gracilis, Gilia gracilis var. humilior, Microsteris gracilis ssp. humilis, Microsteris gracilis var. gracilis, Microsteris gracilis var. humilior, Microsteris humilis, Microsteris micrantha, Phlox gracilis ssp. gracilis, Phlox gracilis ssp. humilis, Phlox gracilis var. humilior
The photo above shows a close-up of midget phlox (var. humilior)
as seen along the lower sections of The Dalles Mt. Road in the Columbia River Gorge........March 17, 2007.
photo at right shows a close-up side-view of the upper leaves and inflorescence
of midget phlox (variety humilior) from the Crofton
Ridge Trail on the southern flanks of Mt. Adams........May 29, 2005.
Midget phlox is a small wildflower to 30 cm in height. It frequently
is seen as a single upright stem several side branches, but may also be much-branched.
The leaves are linear or lance-linear or even elliptic in shape. Length of the
leaves may be as much as 5 cm with an 8 mm width. The flowers are found typically
in pairs at the ends of the stems and branches. The corolla is 5 to 15 mm long,
with a white or yellowish tube and pink or lavender limb. The tips of the petals
are often notched.
Varieties of Midget Phlox:
variety gracilis - Plants generally unbranched,
or if branched branched from the upper-half of the stem upwards. Plants usually
much higher than wider, measuring 8-25 cm high. Corollas 9-15 mm long, the lobes
2-4 mm long. I am unsure whether this variety is in the gorge, but if it is,
would be expected more in the western Gorge than to the east. Photos of this
variety have been included below.
variety humilior - Plants generally much-branched,
the branching beginning on the lower half of the plants. Plants typically wider
than high, generally measuring no more than 5-8 cm high. Corolla 5-8 mm long,
the lobes 1-2 mm long. This variety is known from the Gorge.
Midget phlox is a plant of moist to dry open places, typically
in the lowlands and foothills.
Midget phlox is found from southern British Columbia south to
Baja California and South America and eastward to Montana.
It may be found in the Columbia River Gorge between the elevations
of 100'-4200' from west of Beacon Rock to Biggs, OR.
Midget phlox as seen along the lower section of The Dalles Mt. Road in the Columbia River Gorge.........March 17, 2007.
The photo above shows a close-up of midget
phlox (var. gracilis) as seen in a meadow at about 4300' on the ridgetop
between the Dairy and Cougar Creek drainages on the southeastern flanks of Mt.
Adams.........May 22, 2005. This variety of midget phlox is taller
than the other variety and not much branched.
Close-up of a newly blooming midget phlox as seen (left) in bunchgrass praire on WDFW lands in Swale Canyon, Klickitat County, WA.........March 18, 2010. The photo at right shows newly blooming midget phlox on a road cut above the Dalles Mountain Road about 2 miles uphill to the east of the Dalles Mountain Ranch buildings.........March 3, 2016.
Midget phlox as seen along the Dog Mountain Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.........May 4, 2011.
Midget phlox (variety gracilis) as seen at left atop Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot National Forest.........June 3, 2014. The photo at left shows midget phlox in bloom along the first half mile of trail at the Lyle Cherry Orchard........March 16, 2017.
The photo at left shows midget phlox (variety humilior) as seen on the southeastern slopes of Sevenmile Hill several miles northwest of The Dalles, Oregon..........March 30, 2015. The photo at right shows midget phlox (variety humilior) as seen at the same location..........March 8, 2015.