Friday, April 23, 2010

Woodland Blue Phlox

woodland blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Some seventy species of phlox can be found in various North American habitats. This is Phlox divaricata, a very common one. Note the five pale blue petals radiating from a central tube, opposite leaves and a sticky hairy stem. Also notice that blue phlox's bisexual flower components are hidden inside the central corolla tube. These flowers are pollinated mainly by bumblebees who have the specialized mouth parts to reach down into the tube. This native plant is found in rich moist woods and has a nice scent. Woodland phlox produces two types of growth, short sterile stems that form a low year round leafy ground cover and a leafy upright stem that supports the flowers. This simple little flower is actually much more complex that it looks.

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