Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa )

Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa ) is a perennial shrub with small needle like leaves.  This is a small white flowering plant prefers alpine, sub-alpine environments and rocky or sandy soil.  This is a low growing plant which is commonly only two to eight inches tall which probably offers survival advantages when confronted with the harsh landscapes of sub-alpine and alpine environments, in which it thrives.

Photographed in the White Moundtains, Phlox diffusa is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine and sub-alpine environments.
Photographed in the White Moundtains in California Phlox diffusa is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine and sub-alpine environments. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Spreading Phlox is commonly found and adapted high in the mountains and distributed throughout in the western United States and Canada. This plant employs a tap route, which is ideally suited to capture water deeper under ground and also offers an anchor to help the plant cling to the mountain in high wind conditions. The plant is short, and when in full bloom, the flowers may completely obscure the green needle like leaves from view.

The five petaled flowers range in color from a clean, magnificent white to calming understated lavender or pink color.  

The blooms are typically visible from May to August and a welcome sight to those who hike at elevation.

Desert Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)

Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA
Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA

The Desert Primrose ( Oenothera deltoides ) is a small bush-like flowering planet with delicate white flowers.  The primrose ranges from 2″ to 18″ high and frequents the sand dunes of the Mojave, Anza Burego and Sonoran Deserts as well as the Great Basin. This white flowered is common in most of the south western states of the United States.

The plants themselves may cluster and spread up to about 40 inches wide when healthy. They will grow profusely in abundant spring rains offer the water they need to sustain growth. The long tongue of the white-lined sphynx moth is known to pollinate this flower.

The pretty white flower blooms from January through May. During which the 2 – 3″ delicate bloom opens in the evening and closes mid morning.  The small oval shaped branches are pale green in color grow to about 4 inches in length.

The Primrose is also known by the following common names:

  • Basket Evening Primrose
  • Birdcage Evening Primrose
  • Devil’s Lantern
  • Lion-in-a-Cage

The delicate flower above was photographed with the light of the setting sun and the back country of Anza Burrego, CA. The year, the desert flower was inundated with these plants and a white covered the sands of the desert floor.