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Phlox condensata

Phlox condensata

Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) 
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, July 12, 2016 and June 15, 2012.

Phlox condensata and pink Silene acaulis mix on the rocky tundra and mats of Phlox condensata cover alpine scree.

What a beautiful world.

Phlox condensata

Phlox condensata

Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) 
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, June 17, 2004 and June 15, 2012.

Phlox condensata is the sweetest smelling of alpine flowers and when the plant is abundant the air is redolent with its fragrance.  But since winds are common in the treeless areas that Phlox condensata favors, it is often necessary to prostrate oneself before it and nose into it to get the real smell. You won’t regret the effort. 

Charles Parry collected the first specimen of Phlox condensata for science in Colorado in 1861.  Asa Gray named this species Phlox caespitosa variety condensata and Elias Nelson renamed it Phlox condensata in 1899.  "Condensata" is Latin for "coming together thickly", i.e., "dense", referring to the thick mat of tiny leaves.

"Phlox" is Greek for "flame". Some Phlox are hot pinks and reds.

Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) 
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, June 23, 2008.

Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) 
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, June 23, 2008.

Leaves are linear to oblong, from 4-9.5 mm long, sharply pointed, and range from glabrous to slightly hairy.

Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) 
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Black Bear Pass, July 20, 2008.

Phlox condensata flowers occasionally have a blue cast to them.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Phlox condensata