Found on the Greenway: Moss Phlox
By Charlotte Morley, Catawba Master Naturalist
In honor of service for Martin Luther King Day, the Greenway enlisted volunteers for trash pickup. When we set out the temperature had only risen to 35oF. Despite the cold there was a big-hearted turnout.
Amongst the wide array of trash that travelers left behind along Springfield Parkway, to my delight, there were flowers in bloom on this cold January day. Especially remarkable since the temperatures the night before were down in the low 20’s. The unseasonably warm weather our region had experienced the weeks before had stimulated them to bloom.
Scientific Family: Polemoniaceae.
Scientific Name: Phlox subulata (pronounced floks sub-u-la’ta).
Common names: Moss Phlox, Ground Pink, Flowering Moss, Creeping Phlox.
This native, perennial flower typically blooms in early to mid-spring. These wildflowers had found a good location under the shelter of some Eastern Cedars and Shortleaf Pines between the old Steele Road and Mill Pond trail. Fortunately, nurseries have cultivated these beauties because they are a very effective ground cover, creating a carpet-like mat that is useful for edging, walls and a sunny slope.