Wild Blue Phlox

Common Name: Wild Blue Phlox.

Scientific Name: Phlox Divaricata.

What to look for?  Lavender! Clusters of lavender flowers sitting low above the ground, contrasting with the lush green carpet of Spring’s early growth. The Wild Blue Phlox has a light green central stem that is unbranched, except near the apex where the flowers occur. The leaves are also light green, narrowly oblong and opposite. Each upper stem terminates in a cluster of lovely lavender flowers with five (5) petals (lobes) notched at the tip. Wild Blue Phlox have a sweet and aromatic floral scent. Each flower is replaced by an ovoid seed capsule containing several small seeds. Small colonies of plants are often formed by means of stolons produced from its root system.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? As you walk the path between the two Carillon Stonegate Ponds or the edge of the forest preserve west of the pond, you will find Wild Blue Phlox along the wooded edges and in the woodland fields.

How big are they? Wild Blue Phlox grows to approximately twelve (12) to eighteen (18) inches tall. The flat, oblong leaves are approximately two and one-half (2.5) inches long and ¾ of an inch across. Each flowering cluster is approximately three (3) inches across with each individual flower approximately one (1) inch across.

Where do they grow and thrive? Wild Blue Phlox is a native wildflower. It is most common in midwestern woods and fields and from the Rockies across the eastern U.S. Wild Blue Phlox grows in the dappled shade of open woodlands, partially shaded areas of meadows, and along banks of streams and ponds.

When do they bloom? Wild Blue Phlox blooms from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about a month.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The Wild Blue Phlox flowers are pollinated by bumblebees and other bees; butterflies such as swallowtails; skippers; and moths, including the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. The foliage of Wild Blue Phlox is browsed by rabbits and deer.

Interesting Facts About the Wild Blue Phlox:

  • The genus name is derived from the Greek word ‘phlox’ meaning flame in reference to the intense flower colors of some varieties.

  • Specific epithet ‘divaricata’ means divergent or spreading.

  • Wild Blue Phlox is also known as Louisiana Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Sweet William, and Wild Sweet William.

For more information on the Wild Blue Phlox and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, Missouri Botanical Gardens, and the University of Wisconsin Horticultural Extension.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!