I like the way the family name Polemoniaceae just rolls off the tongue. What a delicious word to say. Oh, and I love the last paragraph of the family description in Arizona Flora: “An almost wholly American family comprising many plants with beautiful flowers. Species of the genera Phlox, Gilia, and Polemonium and the climbing Cobaea scandens are garden favorites.” That’s a pretty big build up and it sure makes you want to find the native species of all the Arizona genera.
There are fourteen species Phlox found in Arizona. When you look up the species Phlox longifolia, it gets complicated. Since I’ve already quoted from one authority, here is another one from the SEINet web site and about this species: “Geographic and ecological variation with respect to habit, leaf size, and floral morphology is complex throughout the range of the species and in much need of study.” That sounds like a Masters Degree in the making to me.
A couple notes: the photos are mine and taken the day described in the show. You can see that the Phlox flower is quite beautiful and also that the U.S.F.S. horses and mules were very friendly…not much help, but friendly.