Rocky Mountain Phlox (Phlox multiflora)

Picture Notes: I took this picture (Fig. 01) on 06/05/2013 while coming down Wheeler Pass Road on the east side of Wheeler Pass, headed towards the town of Cold Creek, Nevada. To learn more about this area, click on this link … Wheeler Pass via Cold Creek.
Description: Rocky Mountain Phlox (Phlox multiflora) As there are more than 60 species tied to the Phlox family, it has been difficult to pin this plant down, however, this is my best guess for this dainty little wildflower. The Rocky Mountain Phlox is a tap-rooted, more or less mat-forming perennial, with numerous stems occasionally loosely almost erect, but rarely as much as 4 inches tall. The leaves are opposite, inconspicuously slightly rough- surfaced, linear, flexible, the better developed ones mostly .5-1.5 inches long and 5/64 inches wide, with the pairs close to each other on the stem. There are 1 to 3 flowers at the ends of the of short-stalked stems. Calyx hairless or sometimes cobwebby- short-hairy, slightly shorter than the corolla tube, the 5 lobes sharp-pointed, rather narrow and often thickened, but not very firm, the membranes between the 5 ridges of the calyx flat. Corolla are usually white or occasionally bluish/pinkish, the tube .4-.5 inches long, the 5 broad, rounded lobes .25-.5 inches long. They bloom between February and May and may stay in bloom through August. They can be found along washes, wooded areas and on rocky slopes in western forests, usually in partial shade from higher foothills to above timberline in the mountains – 1,500-5,000 feet. A western plant, their distribution is Idaho to western Montana and south to Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

Another possibility for this plant is Cold Desert Phlox (Phlox stansburyi), a.k.a. Pink Phlox. It is native to the southwestern United States from California to Utah to Texas, where it occurs in desert and plateau scrub and woodland habitat. It is a perennial herb taking an upright, branching form. The hairy linear or lance-shaped leaves are 0.39 to 1.2 inches in length and oppositely arranged. The inflorescence bears one or more white to pink flowers with narrow, tubular throats which may exceed 1.2 inches in length. The base of the tube is encased in a calyx of keeled, ribbed sepals. The flower corolla is flat and five-lobed.