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Phlox subulata[1] (creeping phlox, moss phlox,[2] moss pink, or mountain phlox) is a species of flowering plant in the family Polemoniaceae, native to eastern and central USA, and widely cultivated. Growing to 15 cm (6 in) high and covering a 50 cm (20 in) wide area, it is an evergreen perennial forming mats or cushions of hairy, linear leaves. The small, five-petaled flowers bloom in rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink in late spring to early summer.[3]

Moss phlox
Phlox subulata - Moss Phlox.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Subfamily: Polemonioideae
Genus: Phlox
Species: P. subulata
Binomial name
Phlox subulata
above: cherry tree; below: Phlox subulata in an ornamental planting at Yachounomori Garden in Tatebayashi, Gunma

The Latin specific epithet subulata means awl- or needle-shaped.[4]

The odor given off by the plants is mistaken for that of marijuana.[5][6][7]


  • Requires full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Hardiness zones: USDA zone 3 to 9

The cultivar 'McDaniel's Cushion' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10]


  1. ^ "Phlox subulata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  3. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  4. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  5. ^ "Garden moss that smells like cannabis attracts police raid on pensioners". Mail Online. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Police sorry for drug raid mix-up". BBC News. BBC. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Faulkner, Katherine (26 December 2011). "The wrong joint". Mail Online - News. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Phlox subulata at NC State University
  9. ^ Phloxsubulata at Ohio State University
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'". Retrieved 20 July 2013. 

  Media related to Phlox subulata at Wikimedia Commons