Sagebrush desert to ponderosa pine forest openings, from low to middle elevations in the mountains
Widely distributed east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
This little plant is usually not taller than 6 inches. The narrow leaves grow opposite each other on the stem and they can be up to 3 inches long. Their pink or white, sweetly scented flowers occur in loose clusters. The flowers have five petals. Longleaf phlox bloom from April to June.
The Paiute people used decoctions made from the root in a variety of ways, it was used as an eye wash, to treat stomach aches in children and to treat venereal disease.
The Shoshone and Washoe people made an eye wash from longleaf phlox roots.
Here in the Truckee Meadows, longleaf phlox can be found at Ballardini Ranch Trail and Lower Thomas Creek Trail, among others.
Some botanists consider P. longifolia and P. stansburyi to be the same plant. The difference is that P. longifolia often grows up through surrounding shrubs and does not form a cushion or mat as does P. stansburyi. Whether these morphological differences are due to effects of the environment or are genetic, apparently has yet to be determined.
Emma Wynn (research, content, and photos)
Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)