Microsteris is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the phlox family containing the single species Microsteris gracilis, known by the common name slender phlox. The segregation of this species into a genus of its own is controversial, and many botanists continue to include the plant in genus Phlox. Genetic analysis is continuing. The plant is native to western North America from northwestern Canada to the American Midwest to Mexico, as well as parts of South America. It is an annual herb which is variable in shape, taking a decumbent, branching, sometimes almost tuftlike form or growing erect and very slender. Its maximum height approaches 20 centimeters, but it may be much smaller. The lance-shaped leaves are 1 to 3 centimeters long and oppositely arranged except for the upper ones, which are alternate. The herbage is glandular and hairy in texture. The inflorescence at the top of the stem bears one or more small flowers. The flower has a tubular throat around a centimeter long encased in a tubular calyx of sepals. The flat corolla has five flat-tipped or notched lobes just 1 or 2 millimeters long. The flower is white to bright pink with a yellowish throat.
- Prather, L. A., C. J. Ferguson, and R. K. Jansen. (2000). Polemoniaceae phylogeny and classification: implications of sequence data from the chloroplast gene ndhF. American Journal of Botany 87 1300-08.
- Ferguson, C. J. and R. K. Jansen. (2002). A chloroplast DNA phylogeny of eastern Phlox (Polemoniaceae): implications of congruence and incongruence with the ITS phylogeny. American Journal of Botany 89 1324-35.
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