Page authors: Ben Legler, David Giblin
Microsteris gracilis
pink microsteris, slender phlox
Note the branched stems arising from the taproot of this annual.

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington, though more common east of the crest; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Habitat: Lowlands and foothills in open, dry to moderately moist places.

Flowers: March-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Self-pollination, bees, flies


Simple to multi-branched, taprooted annual to 30 cm. tall. Plants hairy to hairy-glandular, at least on the upper half. Highly variable in appearance.


Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate. Leaves linear to elliptic in shape, to 5 cm. long. and 8 mm. wide.


Usually in pairs at the tips of stems and branches. One flower often attached by a slender stalk (pedicel), the other attached nearly directly to the stem or branch (subsessile). Each 5-15 mm. long flower composed of a fused tube that is white or yellowish, with 5 lavender to pink lobes that are separate from each other.



Accepted Name:
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene
Publication: Pittonia 3: 300. 1898.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Gilia gracilis Hook.
Gilia gracilis Hook. var. humilior (Hook.) H. St. John
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. humilis (Greene) Brand
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. gracilis [HC, IMF4]
Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. humilior (Hook.) Cronquist [HC, IMF4]
Microsteris humilis Greene
Microsteris micrantha (Kellogg) Greene
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. gracilis [KZ99, JPM]
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene ssp. humilis (Greene) H. Mason [KZ99]
Phlox gracilis (Hook.) Greene var. humilior (Hook.) B. Boivin
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Microsteris gracilis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Microsteris gracilis checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Microsteris gracilis information.

E-Flora BC: Microsteris gracilis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Microsteris gracilis photos.

USDA Plants: Microsteris gracilis information.

73 photographs:
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