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Marcus, Joseph A.
Phlox drummondii Hook.
Annual phlox, Phlox, Drummond phlox
USDA Symbol: PHDR
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)
A much-branched, sticky-glandular plant with bright rose-red, pink, or white flowers in tight clusters at the ends of stems. Annual phlox or Drummonds phlox is a showy annual. Usually 6-12 in. tall, this phlox can reach 20 in. in height. Its flowers, usually with a pale center, range in color from pink to red, white, peach, or lavender. The 1 in. blooms are in terminal clusters and are trumpet-shaped with a short, narrow tube. The leaves are soft, hairy and sticky. This southern flower of roadsides and fields escaped from cultivation. The species is named for Thomas Drummond, who sent seeds from Texas to England in 1835.
It is not commonly known that one of Texas’ most beautiful wildflowers has been prized in Europe as an “exotic” cultivated garden flower for nearly 150 years. In 1835, botanist Thomas Drummond collected the seeds of this annual wildflower in an area where a red-colored variety overlapped with a pink-flowered form. This collection of wild seed was sent first to Great Britain and later was distributed to nurserymen in several European countries. About 200 true breeding strains were developed from this single collection of seed, including red, pink, white, lavender, maroon, coral, pale pink, and the mixtures of these colors, with the central “eye” of the flower differing in color from the outer color of the petals.
The species name of this plant is named for Thomas Drummond, (ca. 1790-1835), naturalist, born in Scotland, around 1790. In 1830 he made a trip to America to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. In March, 1833, he arrived at Velasco, Texas to begin his collecting work in that area. He spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers. His collections were the first made in Texas that were extensively distributed among the museums and scientific institutions of the world. He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Size Notes:
6-20 inches tall. Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
, VT Native Distribution: Native
to TX; introduced in s.e. U.S. Native Habitat: In
grasslands and open woodlands in neutral to moderately acid sandy soils. In
east and central Texas, rare north and west to the Llano Basin. Well-drained sand; acid to neutral.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Although it prefers sandy, fertile soil, it can be established in a variety of well-drained soils, including alkaline substrates.
Conditions Comments: A much-branched, sticky-glandular plant with bright rose-red, pink, or white flowers in tight clusters at the ends of stems. Drummonds phlox is a showy annual. Its flowers, usually with a pale center, range in color from pink to red, white, peach, or lavender. The 1 in. blooms are in terminal clusters and are trumpet-shaped with a short, narrow tube. The leaves are soft, hairy and sticky. It prefers an acidic to neutral sandy soil.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Shortgrass meadow, Pocket prairie, Wildflower meadow, Garden
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No
PropagationDescription: Seed is available from United States companies, but essentially all of it comes from European sources, and includes a full range of color, from white to deep red. Plant seed in the fall at the suggested rate of 10 pounds/acre. After distributing the seed evenly, rake into loosened topsoil to ensure good seed/soil contact. Seeding rate is 10 pounds/acre. The approximate seed count is 234,000 seeds/pound.
Seed Collection: Capsules explosively dehisce releasing their seeds. Collect seeds from capsules that have turned from green to a light tan color just prior to dehiscence.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no pretreatment, but germination of freshly harvested seeds may be enhanced by the addition of gibberillic acid.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Provide fall, winter, and spring watering if the seasonal rains are sparse. The plant dies back after going to seed, so it is suggested you plant with summer and/or fall-blooming wildflowers. As with all annuals, it is essential that phlox is allowed to reseed for an abundant display the following year.
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Record Last Modified: 2008-07-16
Research By: TWC Staff