Rare Phlox buckleyi is added to the OPGC collection.

June 12, 2012

Buckley's phlox (Phlox buckleyi Wherry; also known as sword-leaf phlox or shale-barren phlox) was discovered by Samuel B. Buckley in the early 1800s near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The specimens Buckley collected languished unnamed as herbarium specimens for many years until E. T. Wherry, the world's foremost phlox taxonomist and naturalist, named it in 1930. In a recent exploration trip by graduate student Peter Zale and OPGC staff, the plant was located in the same general area of West Virginia where it had been originally described and collected. Phlox buckleyi has 28 chromosomes, according to a 1943 publication by James R. Meyer; this is double the typical set of 14 diploid chromosomes found in most phlox. Such higher ploidy level may be very useful in interspecific hybridization studies among the various species of phlox. Samples of the plants have been brought to the greenhouses and are growing well; they are to be used for seed production and further characterization of this rare species. The plant may offer potential as a wonderful spring-blooming addition to gardens.