Phlox (Gr. , flame,-the ancient name for lychnis, applied to these plants by Linnaeus), an exclusively North American genus of plants, including several highly ornamental species. It belongs to the small family of polemoniacece, and comprises annual and perennial herbs, with opposite sessile and entire leaves, and flowers in cymose clusters, terminal or in the axils of the upper leaves; the narrow five-toothed calyx is plaited or angled; the salver-shaped corolla has a long slender tube, and a flat, spreading, five-lobed limb, twisted in the bud; the five short and unequally inserted stamens are included in the tube; ovary three-celled, ripening into a pod with a single seed in each cell. The only annual species in cultivation is Drummond's phlox (P. Drummondii), named in honor of the distinguished botanical collector who sent it from Texas in 1835, and whose prediction in regard to its future popularity has been more than fulfilled, as there is no other annual so generally cultivated in the flower garden.
The plant in its wild state is about a foot high, spreading, and pubescent with somewhat viscid hairs; the flowers of a deep rose color, darker at the centre, with a yellow throat, and very attractive before cultivation had wrought any change in it. A wide extent of prairie covered with this phlox is a sight long to be remembered. This is one of the plants which, in gardener's language, " break" readily, and in the comparatively short time it has been in cultivation it has produced a great number of varieties, new ones being added to the list yearly; it now includes pure white, white with purple eye, purple, violet, lilac, rose, crimson, and intense scarlet colors, with intermediate shades; besides these there are striped and marbled sorts, dark kinds with light centre, and even a pale yellow. If the seeds are started under glass and the plants set out in June, they will keep up a continuous and profuse bloom until frost comes. - One section of the perennial species has low, tufted, creeping stems, upon which are crowded narrow evergreen leaves, and bear flowers in flat clusters on short stems which lift them just above the leaves; some species of this section are found only on the Rocky mountains and in arctic America, but one is quite common on rocky hills from New York W. and S., and has long been cultivated in gardens under the name of moss pink; it forms dense broad mats, which in April and May are covered with rose-colored flowers with a darker eye; there is a white variety, and one with white flowers with a rose-colored eye.
P. pilosa, P. reptans, and P. divaricata are low earlyflowering species, sometimes seen in cultivation. The perennial phloxes or hardy herbaceous phloxes of the catalogues, sometimes absurdly called French lilac, are garden varieties derived from our P. divaricata and P. maculata, so hybridized and crossed that it is difficult to trace their parentage; they are smooth, have erect stems with large leaves tapering or heart-shaped at base, and with a large terminal oblong or pyramidal panicle of flowers. Florists make two divisions: decus-sata, including those which have strong stems 1 to 4 ft. high, and suffruticosa for those with slender stems from 1 to 2 ft. high. The named varieties form a large and constantly increasing list, and present a wide range of color from the purest white to crimson, purple, and scarlet, with every intermediate shade, and also flowers with distinct centres, with stripes and marblings and various shadings and blendings of colors; some begin to flower in June, others appear later, and it is possible to have a constant succession through the season.
Dmmmond's Phlox (Phlox Drummondii).
Moss Pink (Phlox subulata).
Herbaceous Perennial Phlox - Garden Hybrid.