This species of flowering plant is native to forests and fields in eastern North America. I expect to see it in my home state of Ohio in a few weeks, but for now am enjoying it on my visit to Carter Caves, Kentucky.
Wild Blue Phlox is a woodland species that resides in forests, fields and along streams. It has loose clusters of slightly fragrant, tubular, lilac-to-rose-to-blue flowers with five, flat, notched, petal-like lobes that appear at the stem tips in Spring.
Its blooms attract butterflies (Swallowtails, Grey Hairstreaks and Pygmy Blues), clearwing moths and hummingbirds.
This plant can form large colonies as the weak stems flop over and root at the nodes. It then disappears in mid-summer after flowering dropping seeds.
The genus name, Phlox, is derived from the Greek word for flame in reference to its bright flowers. This plant is also known as Woodland Phlox and Wild Sweet William.