Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata[1] the 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 about 13 cm (5 in) high at most 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]

Phlox subulata
Phlox subulata - Moss Phlox.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Phlox
P. subulata
Binomial name
Phlox subulata
Phlox subulata in an ornamental planting beneath a cherry tree at Yachounomori Garden in Annaka, Gunma

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

The odor given off by the plants may be mistaken for that of marijuana.[5]

The plant is cultivated as a front-of-border or groundcover plant. Requiring full sun and well-drained soil, it is very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to −20 °C (−4 °F), and is suitable for hardiness zones USDA 3 to 9.

The following cultivars have received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[6]

  • 'Kelly's Eye'[7] (pink)
  • 'McDaniel's Cushion'[8] (deep pink)
  • 'Red Wings'[9] (carmine red)

The Native American Mahuna peoples use the plant internally for rheumatism.[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 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  4. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  5. ^ "Police sorry for drug raid mix-up". BBC News. BBC. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Phlox 'Kelly's Eye'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'". Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Phlox subulata 'Red Winga'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  10. ^ Romero, John Bruno, 1954, The Botanical Lore of the California Indians, New York. Vantage Press, Inc., page 59

External linksEdit

  Media related to Phlox subulata at Wikimedia Commons