Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)


Photographed August 15

This beautiful plant has appeared here more than once, but here we have some fine deep pink Phlox from the Seldom Seen Greenway, where they were growing next to Saw Mill Run.

We repeat what we have said before about Phlox paniculata:

Pittsburgh is in the native range of Phlox paniculata, but the flower is so popular in gardens, and persists and spreads for so many years after planting, that we always have to suspect any individual plant of being a garden escape. It is often found near old homesites (as it was here in Seldom Seen, where the trail along Saw Mill Run was the main street of a little village until sixty years ago).

Phlox is so much beloved in Pittsburgh that any plant with a vaguely similar inflorescence is likely to be called “Phlox,” Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) being two notable examples. This, however, is the real thing.

The flowers come in a range of colors from white through pink to purple. In the Pittsburgh area at least, the species shows a remarkable affinity for the edges of old cemeteries, where perhaps it was once a popular planting.


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