GROUND OR MOSS PINK





(Phlox subulata) Phlox family



Flowers - Very numerous, small, deep purplish pink, lavender or

rose, varying to white, with a darker eye, growing in simple

cymes, or solitary in a Western variety. Calyx with 5 slender

teeth; corolla salver-form with 5 spreading lobes; 5 stamens

inserted on corolla tube; style 3-lobed. Stems: Rarely exceeding

6 in. in height, tufted like mats, much branched, plentifully set

with awl-shaped, evergreen leaves barely 1/2 in. long, growing in

tufts at joints of stem.

Preferred Habitat - Rocky ground, hillsides.

Flowering Season - April-June

Distribution - Southern New York to Florida, westward to Michigan

and Kentucky.



A charming little plant, growing in dense evergreen mats with

which Nature carpets dry, sandy, and rocky hillsides, is often

completely hidden beneath its wealth of flowers. Far beyond its

natural range, as well as within it, the moss pink glows in

gardens, cemeteries and parks, wherever there are rocks to

conceal or sterile wastes to beautify. Very slight encouragement

induces it to run wild. There are great rocks in Central Park,

New York, worth travelling miles to see in early May, when their

stern faces are flushed and smiling with these blossoms.



Another low ground species is the CRAWLING PHLOX (P. reptans). It

rarely exceeds six inches in height; nevertheless its larger

pink, purple, or white flowers, clustered after the manner of the

tall garden phloxes, are among the most showy to be found in the

spring woods. A number of sterile shoots with obovate leaves,

tapering toward the base, rise from the runners and set off the

brilliant blossoms among their neat foliage. From Pennsylvania

southward and westward is its range, especially in mountainous

regions; but this plant, too, was long ago transplanted from

Nature's gardens into man's.



Large patches of the DOWNY PHLOX (P. pilosa) brighten dry prairie

land with its pinkish blossoms in late spring. Britton and

Brown's botany gives its range as "Ontario to Manitoba, New

Jersey, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas." The plant does its best to

attain a height of two feet; usually its flowers are much nearer

the ground. Butterflies, the principal visitors of most phloxes,

although long-tongued bees and even flies can sip their nectar,

are ever seen hovering above them and transferring pollen,

although in this species the style is so short pollen must often

fall into the tube and self-fertilize the stigma. To protect the

flowers from useless crawling visitors, the calices are coated

with sticky matter, and the stems are downy.





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