[The Phlox of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Midget Phlox

Microsteris gracilis

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

Inflorescence of Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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.

Corolla and calyx of Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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 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.
Characteristics:

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.


Habitat:

Midget phlox is a plant of moist to dry open places, typically in the lowlands and foothills.


Range:

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, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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)

Midget phlox as seen along the lower section of The Dalles Mt. Road in the Columbia River Gorge.........March 17, 2007.

Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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) - Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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) - Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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. 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.

Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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) - Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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)

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, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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)

Midget phlox as seen along the Dog Mountain Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.........May 4, 2011.

Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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) - Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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)

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.

Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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) - Midget Phlox, Slender Phlox: Microsteris gracilis (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 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.

Paul Slichter