Polemoniaceae, the phlox family are mostly perennial or annual herbs or subshrubs with simple leaves (rarely compound). The flowers are perfect, five-merous and regular. Petals are fused to form a flat and round, or bell-shaped or funnel-shaped corolla. The 5 stamens are fused to the corolla tube and alternate with the 5 corolla lobes. The fruit is derived from a superior 3-celled ovary and at maturity becomes a 3-celled capsule. The leaves are alternate or opposite, simple or compound. Phlox and Gilia are common in western forest and steppe communities and are also used in cultivated flower beds. This is a quite small family of about 20 genera and 300 species worldwide, mostly temperate perennials, many in Western U.S.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Phlox Family
LEAVES ALTERNATE, MOSTLY ENTIRE
Collomia Mountain-trumpet Perennials or annuals, low or tall, with erect or creeping stems. Varied habitat.
Flowers pinkish to white or cream-colored, trumpet-shaped with long tube.
Leaves mostly alternate and spoon-shaped to lanceolate, basal lacking.
LEAVES ALTERNATE, PINNATELY DIVIDED INTO NARROW SEGMENTS
Ipomopsis Gilia Annuals or perennials, low or tall, often thin-cobwebby-hairy. Mostly dry sites.
Flowers white, pink or red, trumpet-shaped, borne in open to dense clusters.
Leaves alternate, mostly pinnately divided into very narrow segments.
LEAVES ALTERNATE, PINNATE WITH LEAFLETS. FLOWERS BLUE OR WHITE
Polemonium Jacob's Ladder Perennials (one annual) with single or clustered stems, glandular-hairy.
Flowers several in a loose cluster, blue or white, funnel- to saucer-shaped.
Leaves basal and alternate, pinnately divided into few to many leaflets.
LEAVES OPPOSITE, OFTEN NARROW AND VERY SMALL
Phlox Phlox Often tufted plants with many stems. Mostly dry and rocky areas.
Flowers mostly white, solitary or few on stem tips, with 5 broad, showy lobes.
Leaves mostly opposite and narrow, sometimes needle-like and crowded.
Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Phlox family: