The Medicinal Plant Garden

of Birmingham-Southern College

  • Phlox pilosa
  • Phlox pilosa
  • Phlox pilosa

Common Name

Downy Phlox, Prairie Phlox, and Fragrant Phlox

Related Species

There are 9 related subspecies to the Phlox pilosa, and each is categorized upon the location in which the phlox is found (TWC Staff, 2013). These plants include Phlox pilosa ssp. detonsa, Phlox pilosa ssp. deamii, Phlox pilosa ssp.fulgia, Phlox pilosa ssp. pulcherrima , Phlox pilosa ssp. riparia, Phlox pilosa ssp. latisepala, Phlox pilosa ssp. ozarkana, and Phlox pilosa ssp. sanfamonensis (USDA). The Phlox pilosa is a member of the Polemoniaceae family.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat

Phlox pilosa can be found across the eastern region of the United States, as well as parts of Eastern Canada (USDA). Primarily, P. pilosa can be seen in the entire Southeastern United States as well as a majority of the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, the northernmost states being New York and Connecticut. P. pilosa is considered endangered in four states in the northern part of its range: Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey (USDA). P. pilosa grows in dry, acidic, sandy or rocky soils. It is found in open woods, pinelands, sand hills, and roadsides (Wildflower Database).


Phlox pilosa is a mounded perennial comprised of pale pink or lavender flowers. The stems of this plant are narrow, and contain paired leaves bearing soft hairs, leading to the name of downy phlox (Wildflower Database).

Portion of the Plant Used

Both the leaves and the roots of the Phlox pilosa have traditional uses (Midgley, 1999).


While recent studies have not researched potential medicinal uses for Phlox pilosa, the phlox family and the many different subspecies of P. pilosa are often the study organism for genetic studies in plants. For example, Worchester et al. (2012) investigated geographic variation in polyploidy, and Fehlberg et al. (2008) used microsatellite analysis to examine the genetic variability, hybridization, and microevolution of the genus.