E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Phlox speciosa subsp. occidentalis Pursh (Durand ex Torr.) Wherry
showy phlox
Polemoniaceae (Phlox family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16374)

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Distribution of Phlox speciosa subsp. occidentalis
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Showy phlox is a red-listed species in British Columbia and is considered threatened in Canada. It is found in North America from southern British Columbia south to Idaho, Montana and northern California (Douglas et al. 1999). It reaches the northern limits of its distribution in British Columbia, where it is reported from the Okanagan Valley, from Summerland south to Skaha Lake and southwest to the Twin Lakes (COSEWIC 2004). Populations are particularly clustered around Yellow Lake and Twin Lakes, between Keremeos and Penticton (COSEWIC 2004). This is a species of "dry grasslands, shrublands, and open forests in the steppe and montane zones" (Douglas et al. 1999), where it may be found in sagebrush and Ponderosa pine communities (COSEWIC 2004) .

Read the COSEWIC status report for this species.

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a woody taproot, becoming shrubby towards the base; stems erect, glandular or glandular-hairy above, hairy below, 15-40 cm tall.
Opposite, linear to lanceolate, to 7 cm long and 1 cm wide, the internodes well developed.
Inflorescence of loose, leafy-bracted, terminal clusters of stalked flowers; corollas pink to white, the tube 1-1.5 cm long, spreading to five wide lobes 1-1.5 cm long and notched at the tip; calyces glandular, the transparent segments between the 5 green ribs flat; styles 0.5-2 mm long.
Capsules, 3-chambered, few-seeded.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry grasslands, shrublands and open forests in the steppe and lower montane zones; rare in SC BC, known recently only from Yellow Lake and Twin Lakes; S to ID, MT and N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Phlox speciosa var. occidentalis (Dur. ex Torr.) M.E. Peck

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References