Microsteris gracilis

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  • Scientific Name: Microsteris gracilis
  • Family: Polemoniaceae
  • Common Names: pink microsteris, slender phlox
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Gilia gracilis, Microsteris humilis, Microsteris micrantha, Phlox gracilis
  • Codon: MICGRA

Photo by Ben Legler, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteranae
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Microsteris Greene
Species: Microsteris gracilis (Hook.) Greene


Highly variable, tap-rooted annual. Glandular, at least on upper part of plant. From simple to branched.

Leaves linear to lanceolate, or the lower obovate. Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate.

Flowers usually terminal and paired, usually one subsessile, the other evidently with a pedicel.

Corolla tube whitish to yellowish, lobes 1-3 mm., pink to lavender, more or less notched.

Fruit is a dehiscent capsule, with one seed per locule. Seeds become mucilaginous when moistened.[2][3]

Bloom Period



Widespread in north America, and on both sides of Cascades, and in temperate south America[2]


Lowlands and mountain foothills in open places, dry to moderately moist.[2]


A good browsing forb for Sage-Grouse chicks.[5]


Seed Sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 2.7 x 1.5 x 0.9

Measurement Range: L: 2.3 – 3, W: 1.2 – 1.75, D: 0.6 – 1


Shape: Seeds tapered at hilum and opposite apex. One seed face is mostly flat, while opposite seed face is more rounded.

Color: Seed is tan

Surface: Hilum visible through slightly transparent seed coat as small protrusion. One face of seed has longitudinal sulcus running from hilum to opposite apex. Some seeds covered in flakey coating. Seeds slightly wrinkled, bumpy, and matte. When wet, seed coat forms stringy, mucilaginous substance.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical MIGR lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical MIGR long.png

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=31309#null
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  3. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:2020-05-09]
  4. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Microsteris%20gracilis
  5. Klebenow DA, Gray GM (1968) Food habits of juvenile sage grouse. Journal of Range Management 21: 80 83