Microsteris is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the phlox family containing the single species Microsteris gracilis, known by the common name slender phlox.

Microsteris gracilis 1776.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Microsteris
M. gracilis
Binomial name
Microsteris gracilis

Phlox gracilis

The segregation of this species into a genus of its own is controversial, and many botanists continue to include the plant in genus Phlox.[1][2] Genetic analysis is continuing.


Microsteris gracilis is native to western North America from northwestern Canada to the American Midwest and West Coast, through Mexico, as well as parts of South America. It is native to all the diverse plant communities in California.[3]

The flower has a tubular yellow throat encased in a tubular gladular-hairy calyx. Corolla lobes are just 1 to 2 mm long.


Microsteris gracilis is an annual herb which is variable in shape, taking a decumbent, branching, sometimes almost tuftlike form or growing erect and very slender. Its maximum height approaches 20 centimeters, but it may be much smaller.

The lance-shaped leaves are 1 to 3 centimeters long and oppositely arranged except for the upper ones, which are alternate. The herbage is glandular and hairy in texture. The inflorescence at the top of the stem bears one or more small flowers.

The flower has a tubular throat around a centimeter long encased in a tubular calyx of sepals. The flat corolla has five flat-tipped or notched lobes just 1 or 2 millimeters long. The flower is white to bright pink with a yellowish throat.


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