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.
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.
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.