Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Phlox

1 Stems woody or suffrutescent, trailing or decumbent; leaves to 25 mm long (-60 mm long in P. bifida), to 3 (-5) mm wide, generally with short-shoots or fascicles of leaves in the axils of leaves of the sterile shoots.
..2 United portion of the style 5-12 mm long, the cleft portion ca. 1 mm long.
....3 Larger leaves > 3 cm long; nodes 4-5, spaced; petals deeply notched, the notch 1.5-5 mm deep
....3 Larger leaves < 2.5 cm long; nodes >6, crowded; petals shallowly notched, the notch 0.5-3 mm deep
..2 United portion of the style 1.5-4 mm long, the cleft portion 0.5-2 mm long.
......4 Leaves to 60 mm long and 5 mm wide; petal lobes about as wide as long; [ne. TX north through c. OK to sc. KS]
......4 Leaves to 30 cm long and 3 mm wide; petal lobes longer than broad; [s. VA south and west to e. MS; disjunct in se. TX]
........5 Pubescence with minute gland tips; corolla lobes cleft at the apex to 2.5 mm deep; [e. TX]
........5 Pubescence conspicuously gland-tipped; corolla lobes merely slightly emarginate at the apex; [AL east and north to s. VA].
..........6 Fertile shoots (10-) 15-30 cm tall; upper leaves oblong-lanceolate, up to 12-25 mm long, 1.5-3 mm wide on sterile shoots, 2.5-5 mm wide on fertile shoots; pubescence of the inflorescence mostly with conspicuously glandular tips
..........6 Fertile shoots (3-) 8-12 (-15) cm tall; upper leaves linear-lanceolate, up to 8-12 mm long, 0.5-1.5 mm wide on sterile shoots, 1.5-3 mm wide on fertile shoots; pubescence of the inflorescence mostly with finely glandular tips
1 Stems herbaceous, erect or decumbent; leaves (at least the larger) > 25 mm long and/or > 5 mm wide, generally lacking axillary fascicles of leaves.
............ 7 Style long, (12-) 14-26 mm long, the united portion 3-30× as long as the cleft portion; stamens equaling or exceeding the corolla tube (thus in part exserted).
............ ..8 Plants forming colonies by rhizomes, stolons, and/or prostrate sterile shoots with evergreen to semi-evergreen leaves; flowering shoots 1-4 (-5) dm tall.
............ ....9 Plants with rhizomes and stolons tipped with clustered, evergreen, linear to lanceolate leaves 3-12 cm long, 5-10 (-12) mm wide
............ ....9 Plants with prostrate sterile shoots with scattered, semi-evergreen, spatulate to obovate leaves 1.5-4.5 cm long, 5-16 mm wide
............ ..8 Plants not colony-forming by rhizomes or stolons; flowering shoots (3-) 5-20 dm tall.
............ ......10 Leaf margin ciliate-serrulate; lateral veins of the leaves readily apparent, these joining to form a connecting vein parallel to the leaf margin.
............ ........11 Bracts of the inflorescence pubescent with glandular hairs; corolla tube glabrous; leaves opposite; nodes usually 8-15; leaves usually 2-3× as long as wide
............ ........11 Bracts of the inflorescence pubescent with non-glandular hairs; corolla tube pubescent (rarely glabrous); leaves subopposite (at least near the inflorescence); nodes usually 15-40; leaves usually 3-4× as long as wide
............ ......10 Leaf margin smooth or slightly rough; lateral veins of the leaves not readily apparent, not forming a connecting vein parallel to the leaf margin.
............ ..........12 Flowering shoots arising from decumbent stems; nodes below the inflorescence 3-7
............ ............ 13 Sterile, decumbent stems short; nodes (3-) 4 (-5); lower leaves long-petioled
............ ............ 13 Sterile, decumbent stems elongate; nodes (5-) 6 (-7); lower leaves short-petioled
............ ..........12 Flowering shoots arising from rhizomes; nodes below the inflorescence 7 or more.
............ ............ ..14 Cymes several, the lower on rather short and uniform peduncles, thus the inflorescence as a whole subcylindric in outline.
............ ............ ....15 Nodes 7-15, well-spaced; upper leaves oblong to ovate, cordate at the base; flowering early summer
............ ............ ....15 Nodes 16-35, crowded; upper leaves lanceolate to ovate-oblong; truncate to subcordate at the base; flowering late summer
............ ............ ..14 Cymes solitary or several, if several then the lower on long peduncles, thus the inflorescence as a whole broadly rounded or even flat-topped.
............ ............ ......16 Calyx subcylindric, the sepals fairly broad, with a rather weak midrib, the junction-membranes thin, narrow, becoming markedly plicate-keeled
............ ............ ......16 Calyx subcampanulate, the sepals narrow with a well-developed midrib, the junction-membranes firm, broad and flat (to slightly plicate-keeled)
............ 7 Style short, 1-4 mm long, the united portion 1-1.5 (-2)× as long as the cleft portion; stamens shorter than the corolla tube (thus included).
............ ............ ........17 Upper leaves alternate; annual; corollas red, white, bright purple, purplish-pink, or variegated.
............ ............ ..........18 Corolla tube constricted at orifice; corollas bright purple (rarely pink or nearly white), with a conspicuous yellow eye; [TX]
............ ............ ..........18 Corolla tube not constricted at the orifice; corollas red, white, purplish-pink, or variegated; [collectively widespread].
............ ............ ............ 19 Largest leaves > 10× as long as wide; corolla tubes 10-14 mm long, glabrous or pilose; corollas purplish-pink, with well-developed white 'eye'; [s. and se. TX].
............ ............ ............ ..20 Corolla tube glabrous
............ ............ ............ ..20 Corolla tube pilose
............ ............ ............ 19 Largest leaves < 10× as long as wide; corolla tubes (10-) 14-20 mm long, usually pubescent (very rarely glabrous); corollas red, white, pink, lavender, or variegated; [collectively widespread].
............ ............ ............ ....21 Populations variable in flower color, usually mixes of white, pink, lavender, red, and mixtures; [collectively widespread, naturalized in dry sandy soils of roadsides, fields, and disturbed areas]
............ ............ ............ ....21 Populations uniform in flower color; [sc. OK south to s. TX].
............ ............ ............ ......22 Corollas bright red or crimson to deep lavender; mid-stem leaves mostly sessile or abruptly tapered to the blade base; [se. TX]
............ ............ ............ ......22 Corollas pink or lavender; mid-stem leaves mostly gradually tapered at base; [c., nc., and sc. TX].
............ ............ ............ ........23 Mature pedicels mostly 2-5 mm long; [c. and nc. TX]
............ ............ ............ ........23 Mature pedicels mostly (4-) 5-12 mm long; [sc. TX]
............ ............ ........17 Upper leaves opposite or subopposite; perennial; corollas blue, lavender, or pink; [native, mostly of forests, woodlands, or roadbanks].
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Sterile shoots rooting at the nodes; leaves broad-elliptic, ca. 2-3× as long as wide; sepals acuminate to very slightly awned, the awn 0-0.5 mm long; corolla tube glabrous.
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Corolla lobes notched at the apex
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Corolla robes rounded or truncate at the apex
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Sterile shoots not rooting at the nodes; leaves narrowly ovate, lanceolate, or linear, ca. 4-10× as long as wide; sepals awned, the awn 0.5-3.0 mm long; corolla glabrous, pilose, or glandular-pubescent.
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Cymes compact, the lowest branches short, < 0.5 cm long; corolla glabrous; pedicels 1-6 mm long.
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Leaves and bracts oblong-elliptic to lanceolate, acute to obtuse (rarely acuminate), the larger 20-40 (-50) mm long, 4-8 (-12) mm wide, ca. 5× as long as wide; bracts below the inflorescence hiding the calyces
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Leaves and bracts linear to lanceolate, acuminate, the larger 35-45 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, ca. 10× as long as wide; bracts below the inflorescence not hiding the calyces
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Cymes open, the lowest branches elongate, > 1 cm long; corolla usually glandular-pubescent or pilose (rarely glabrous); pedicels 1-8 (-12) mm long
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Leaves largest below the middle of the stem
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Leaves largest above the midpoint of the stem.
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Plants glabrous
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Plants pubescent with glandular and/or nonglandular hairs.
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Calyx lobes with long non-glandular hairs, the tips cuspidate and erect
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Calyx lobes with short glandular hairs, the tips aristate and somewhat reflexed.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Upper stem leaves mostly linear, the base rounded or truncate; stems with non-glandular hairs towards the base, grading to glandular hairs towards the tip of the stem
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Upper stem leaves ovate-lanceolate, subcordate and broadest at the base; stems pubescent throughout with glandular hairs